James Horwill of the Queensland Reds.
James Horwill of the Queensland Reds. Hannah Johnston / Getty Images

Will 'Big Kev' Horwill be a Red for life?

THE Reds have enjoyed a lot of positives of late.

The organisation fought its way back from bankruptcy, built on the back of the 2010 Super Rugby title, and now has a strong membership base, record numbers of spectators at home games, and a corporate portfolio the envy of other codes, not just other Super Rugby teams.

And, pivotally, the club has not lost one single player it wanted to keep.

That, more than anything else, is a sign of the positive things at the club.

Cue James 'Big Kev' Horwill. It appears Big Kev is on the verge of signing a contract that will see him become a 'one team' man.

Let's be honest, with Big Kev at 27 years of age, and in his rugby prime, he could easily secure a massive deal elsewhere, whether in Australia or overseas in Europe or Japan.

It's a sign of the quality of the bloke and the structures in place at the Reds that he will not entertain those opportunities until he has finished his work with the Reds.

Horwill, a product of Brisbane Boys College in Brisbane, has lived all his life in the southern corner of the state, and is as Queensland as they come.

He lives, breathes, fights for, promotes and exudes the Queenslander brand.

A more effective, cut through ambassador for the state would be hard to find.

He is all that's good about Queensland and Queensland rugby, and having him in Red for the rest of his domestic career is a massive boost for the club.

 

A brave selection group does not pick Cooper

Quade Cooper preparing to train with the Queensland Reds.
Quade Cooper preparing to train with the Queensland Reds. Patrick Hamilton

On form, Quade Cooper must be in the Wallabies' squad.

The British and Irish Lions will be well-oiled by the time they face the Wallabies.

What about this for a set of prep games (in order): Barbarians (in Hong Kong); Force; Reds; Combined QLD/NSW Country; Waratahs; and the Brumbies.

That's six prep games to the Wallabies' none.

That's an enormous advantage for the tourists.

As far as I'm concerned, that schedule sets the context for Wallaby team selection.

So it was with astonishment I learned that Quade Cooper had not been asked to attend the third administration/logistics camp in Sydney this Sunday and Monday.

Is this a harbinger to his non-selection? I hope not.

Having played against the Lions (losing a close one in 1989 with the Reds, 15-12 from memory), it is the most physical, oppressive, violent and test, in the true meaning of the word, of an individual and team.

If there is a weakness, it will be exposed and targeted.

To perform against the Lions, form, positional experience, experience at the top level and combinations are vital ingredients.

Cooper's form was so-so in the early rounds, but he has definitely been improving, especially since Will Genia's return from injury. And that's telling.

Cooper has experience in his position as five-eight, and has performed at the top level at five-eight.

His non-selection for this camp is possibly nothing more than mind games.

I'm hoping so, because Cooper has what is required to perform against the Lions, and have us winning.

His 'x factor', positional experience and combo with Genia are vital.

Excluding injury, poor form and off-field issues, Cooper has 67 days and eight or nine games to make himself either a certainty or un-pickable.

Come on Quade, make the selectors take notice!


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