Horwill returns for Reds
The Reds received a major boost ahead of the Super Rugby season with Wallabies captain James Horwill set to return from injury.
Horwill will lead the Reds into action in their second and final trial match against the Chiefs, before their Super Rugby campaign begins on February 16 against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The inspirational Reds skipper has been out of action since suffering a severe hamstring tear against the Brumbies in May last year.
Horwill will be joined by a number of other returning players on Friday with Saia Faingaa, Jake Schatz, Dom Shipperley and Chris F'Sautia also passed fit to play, while lock Rob Simmons will join Horwill in the starting XV following the completion of a five-game suspension.
In total, 11 capped Wallabies from 2012 will feature for the Reds in their trial game against the Chiefs. This includes prop James Slipper; hookers James Hanson and Saia Faingaa; locks Simmons and Horwill; flanker Liam Gill; centres Mike Harris and Ben Tapuai; wingers Digby Ioane and Shipperley; and full-back Luke Morahan.
Horwill said he was excited to return to the rugby field.
"I'm a terrible spectator at the best of times, so it's a huge relief to be out of Team Rehab and in a position to play once again," he said.
"We've been extremely diligent in not rushing the rehab process to ensure that my hamstring would be ready for when the Super Rugby season kicked off.
"It's exciting to now be at that stage and I'm just looking forward to Friday night.
"It's important we are building momentum heading into the Super Rugby season.
"We've already had a strong hit-out against the Blues but the Chiefs are a completely new challenge, so the onus is on everyone to take their game to another level and push for selection in round one."
The Chiefs trial game will allow the Reds to put the finishing touches on their preseason preparation after beginning the year in style with an entertaining 41-35 victory over the Blues in Toowoomba last Saturday.