James Slipper will skipper Queensland this season.
James Slipper will skipper Queensland this season. PAUL MILLER

Slipper to lead Reds once more

RUGBY UNION: James Slipper has retained the Queensland Reds' captaincy for the third year running.

The 27-year-old will be joined in the leadership group by Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore, who ruled himself out of the Reds' job a month ago, Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Sam Talakai.

Coach Nick Stiles gave Slipper a ringing endorsement after the prop's great service in difficult times for the Super Rugby franchise.

"James has done an outstanding job to this point, particularly last year," Stiles said at the announcement at Ballymore yesterday.

"When it came to approaching the leadership for this season we were conscious of wanting to provide a strong base of support not just for him, but for the whole squad.

"James, Stephen (Moore), Quade (Cooper), Samu (Kerevi) and Sam (Talakai) all bring different leadership strengths to the role.

"We've chosen this model of leadership group after doing a lot of work on understanding what motivates this team and how we can get the best out of them.

"We've learnt from previous experience that we weren't aggressive enough in developing a number of leaders within the group and this model allows us to do that.

"It's also important to note that while we've named a group of leaders, we expect everyone in the squad to contribute to leadership in some form. We're creating an environment where people can be comfortable leading in their area of strength.

"Hopefully this sets us up for the progression and development of many leaders within the team."

Slipper, who will also have the experience of Rob Simmons and George Smith to help him out, said it was a no-brainer to carry on his role.

"I've always enjoyed leading my state," he said.

"It's been a challenging role, but I'm really looking forward to the 2017 season.

"We've grown so much as a group over the last two years and we're massively motivated to turn our fortunes around."

Prop Slipper will lead the team at the inaugural Brisbane Global Rugby Tens this weekend at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds will face the Blues, Crusaders and Samoa.

Their final pre-season game is against the Melbourne Rebels at Ballymore Stadium next Tuesday.

News Corp Australia


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