Emotion-charged Reds eye Chiefs scalp

James Horwill and Will Genia don’t want their Suncorp Stadium farewell on Saturday night to be all about them.


Queensland Reds captain James Slipper doesn’t care.

“They don’t like to be put up on a pedestal,” Slipper said ahead of Queensland’s Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs, the last in Brisbane for Europe-bound Horwill and Genia.

“In my opinion, they should be.

“They’re club legends, both played over 100 games for the state.

“They deserve whatever they get and hopefully we can get a win for them.”

It is the least the Reds could do for two of the franchise’s all-time greats, who will depart for fresh new adventures at the end of what has been Queensland’s annus horribilis.

While there hasn’t been much focus on the emotional side of Saturday’s match in the backrooms of Ballymore this week – a “player-driven” decision, according to Slipper – there will be no escaping it.

Particularly for Slipper, who has modelled his on-field style and his off-field approach on Horwill, his predecessor as Reds captain.

“He’s pretty much played in every game in my career,” Slipper said.

“He’s been a great help for me. I’ve really looked up to him as a player and as a friend.

“It’s going to be tough seeing him leave but that’s the industry we’re in, everyone’s got to move on at some point.

“Five years down the track I’ll be looking at the same prospect.

“I think the legacy he’s left behind will be forever remembered.”

The Chiefs loom as Queensland’s biggest scalp this season if the unchanged side from last week’s watershed win over the Western Force can back that performance up.

Quade Cooper was at the centre of it all in his first game back from a fractured shoulderblade but he will only be allowed the same sort of influence against the Chiefs if his forwards can lay the playform.

The two-time Super Rugby champions are still without the injured Sonny Bill Williams but have recalled All Blacks forwards Brodie Retallick and Liam Messam.

“They’re a team full of All Blacks and they’re a very professional outfit, very tough for us to beat,” Slipper said.

“But in saying that, we’ve had a really good week of training, we’re starting to build consistency in team selection, which has come at the wrong end of the year.

“If you have that consistency … I feel like you can build momentum and you’re seeing that now.”

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