Wallabies James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Samu Kerevi, Leroy Houston and wildcard inclusion Chris Latham have been included in a Queensland Reds quad for the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens that also features cross code superstar Karmichael Hunt, rising sensation Taniela Tupou and key new recruit Lachlan Maranta.
The squad features five capped Wallabies, 20 players with Super Rugby experience and six uncapped players.
Coach Nick Stiles said the Reds were looking forward to finally taking the field after months of pre-season training.
“The Tens is an important moment in our pre-season preparations for Super Rugby,” Stiles said.
“Not only is it an opportunity for us to put into action what we’ve been training since last year, but it is also a chance to demonstrate to our fans the hard work we’ve put in to ensure we’re a better side in 2017.”
As well as the likes of vastly experienced test players such as Slipper (86 tests) and Simmons (71 tests), the side features former Kangaroos and Queensland State of Origin star Hunt and new recruit Lachlan Maranta – a veteran of 70 matches for the Brisbane Broncos.
The tournament also shapes as a coming out party for blockbusting prop Taniela Tupou – a player dubbed the Tongan Thor for his rampaging exploits in New Zealand schoolboy rugby.
“We felt it was important to have a balance of some of our more seasoned players, while also giving the young guys some reward for all their hard work,” Stiles said. “They’ve been training incredibly hard since the conclusion of last year’s Super Rugby season and now get the chance to showcase what they’re capable of on the field against some seriously tough opposition.”
The Reds have been drawn in Pool B, alongside the Blues and Crusaders from New Zealand and Samoa.
“It’s a difficult pool, but that should benefit us in our pre-season preparations as all three teams are physical and like to move the ball around and that will provide us with a good challenge ahead of Super Rugby,” Stiles said.
The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens features all ten professional franchises from Australia and New Zealand, along with French powerhouse Toulon, Japanese Top League side Panasonic Wild Knights, the Blue Bulls from South Africa and the Samoan national team.
St.George Queensland Reds squad for Brisbane Global Rugby Tens
Chris Latham (wildcard)