In preparation for the 2017 Super Rugby season, which kicks off next Thursday 23rd February as the Rebels host the Blues, RUPA are running the rule over a big year for each of the Australian teams; on and off the pitch!
With the assistance of Player Development Manager (PDM) Matt Smith, here’s what to look out for at the Queensland Reds, as they seek to return to finals action this year.
2016 RUPA Camp Attendees:
Alex Mafi, Izack Rodda, Henry Taefu, Marcus Vanzati
Quade Cooper, Reece Hewat, Scott Higginbotham, Alex Mafi, Lachlan Maranta, Stephen Moore, Jayden Ngamanu, Izack Rodda, George Smith, Moses Sorovi, Marcus Vanzati
Most Impressive Newcomer:
“We don’t have too many newcomers, and a lot of the guys who have come in are very experienced international Rugby players, but Lachie Maranta has been very impressive,” Smith says.
“He has become very comfortable around the guys, whereas with a lot of newcomers it takes a long time to settle in. We do have a few other guys from Rugby League backgrounds and I think that has helped him feel comfortable, which is great to see.”
It’s going to be a big year off the field for:
“Probably Rob Simmons and James Slipper, as they’ve enrolled in University for the first time and will be juggling that with their Reds and Wallaby commitments.
“Simmo has gotten married recently as well, and Slips remains our Captain, so it’s going to be a busy year for them to balance off the field.”
Describe your team’s leadership:
“The formal leadership group has James Slipper as Captain, with Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Stephen Moore and Sam Talakai complimenting him.
“Some of our other leaders include George Smith, who has come back and brings a huge amount of knowledge that he is using to help young guys in the squad, and then there is Rob Simmons who’s been a part of the Leadership Group in the past and also Chris Kuridrani who is a really good leader among the Polynesian players in the squad. There’s a really good mix of leaders around the whole group.”
What role are you playing to support the players to perform at their best?
“I’m just trying to help them create a dual identity, and to be known as more than just Rugby players. Even if they are doing some small things away from Rugby; it doesn’t have to be as formal as University study, for example.
"It’s just really important that they can continue to develop skills that are necessary for life after Rugby.”
List of those enrolled in study:
- Kane Douglas (Cert IV in Small Business)
- Nick Frisby (Bachelor of Business)
- Michael Gunn (Bachelor of Engineering)
- Karmichael Hunt (Bachelor of Psychology)
- Samu Kerevi (Bachelor of Business)
- Adam Korczyk (Bachelor of Exercise Science)
- Chris Kuridrani (Cert IV in Youth Work)
- Alex Mafi (Bachelor of Law)
- Campbell Magnay (Bachelor of Property Economics)
- Jake McIntyre (Bachelor of Business)
- Duncan Paia’aua (Bachelor of Criminology)
- Andrew Ready (Bachelor of Business)
- Rob Simmons (Bachelor of Business)
- James Slipper (Bachelor of Business)
- George Smith (Bachelor of Business)
- Caleb Timu (Bachelor of Commerce)
- James Tuttle (Bachelor of Law)
- Markus Vanzati (Bachelor of Exercise Science)
- Friday 24th February vs. Sharks
- Saturday 11th March vs. Crusaders
- Saturday 1st April vs. Hurricanes
- Saturday 15th April vs. Southern Kings
- Saturday 29th April vs. Waratahs
- Friday 26th May vs. Western Force
- Friday 7th July vs. Brumbies
For more information on the Queensland Reds, including player profiles, membership, tickets, merchandise and news, head to their official website.