Stephen Moore during a Queensland Reds training session.
Stephen Moore during a Queensland Reds training session. DAVE HUNT

Return of Wallabies skipper boosts Reds for NSW clash

RUGBY UNION: The addition of Wallabies captain Stephen Moore is the only change to the Queensland Reds starting line-up for the hugely important clash with the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Moore replaces Alex Mafi, who has moved to the bench, with others returning from injury also among the reserves.

Lock Izack Rodda returns from a shoulder injury to take the place of Kane Douglas, while No.8 Leroy Houston gets his first opportunity in the Reds jersey in 2017, after finally recovering from an eye injury picked up before round four.

Campbell Magnay is also set for his first game of the year after completing a lengthy rehabilitation from shoulder and hip injuries. Magnay has replaced winger Chris Kuridrani.

Coach Nick Stiles said it was good to see a number of players returning to the squad following last week's bye and said no player would need much motivation for Saturday's clash.

"No one needs reminding of the importance of this match for both sides," he said.

"This is the only Queensland versus New South Wales fixture in the 2017 calendar and it has a lot of implications for the Australian conference.

"I know the team, the organisation and our fans are really looking forward to it.

"It's also great to be able to bring a few players back from injury this week. Everyone wants a chance to pull the colours on against New South Wales.

"Those guys have worked really hard to ensure they're fit to play and are really excited to take the field on Saturday."

Even with Moore returning to the starting line-up, Stiles said he would be giving Samu Kerevi another chance to deputise for injured skipper James Slipper.

"Samu carried himself well in his first outing as captain two weeks ago and we wanted to give him more time in the role so he can build on that experience," the coach said.

"Stephen did a fine job as captain in the absence of James Slipper, and his role as a leader within the group won't change - he was brought back to Queensland to help develop the next generation of leaders and he'll continue to do that."