SUPPORT COMING: James Slipper will get help from the Queensland Reds' wealth of experienced recruits.
SUPPORT COMING: James Slipper will get help from the Queensland Reds' wealth of experienced recruits. Ross Setford

Stiles to appoint co-captain to help Slipper

RUGBY UNION: Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles plans to use the huge influx of experience this season to help get the team back on track.

Stiles said yesterday veteran prop James Slipper would stay as captain, but could end up sharing the role.

He praised Slipper for his leadership during last year's nightmare three-win Super Rugby campaign last year and the sacking of coach Richard Graham after just two games.

Recruits Wallaby skipper Stephen Moore, George Smith, Quade Cooper and Scott Higginbotham, and last year's vice-captain Rob Simmons are potential options as co-captain.

"One thing I want to make really clear is that I was really happy with the work James Slipper did last year," Stiles told reporters on Tuesday.

"I just think having the rest of the guys here gives his leadership another leg.

"I'm probably not down a traditional path of just having one captain. I want to see these guys coming in really contribute across the board."

Moore, who returned to Brisbane after eight years with the Brumbies, said he admired the job Slipper did last season.

"A lot of the players here were knocked around a fair bit last year," he said.

"It was a tough year off the field as well. James did a great job to keep everyone together and positive and in a very tough environment.

"A big part of my role here is to help James and the other leaders as well.

"If we can really establish a strong culture around leadership and not rely too much on one or two people, we'll be going in the right direction."

The Reds, who haven't qualified for the finals in three years, are expected at the very least to challenge for the Australian conference title this season after their impressive and extensive recruiting drive.

 



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