Slipper bolsters Reds front row

James Slipper will start at loosehead prop for the Reds against the Highlanders in Brisbane on Friday.

Slipper has served a three-week suspension for a lifting tackle and will bolster a front row missing Saia Fainga'a (calf), Jono Owen (back) and Ben Daley (thumb). 

Those injuries mean uncapped hooker Andrew Ready and prop Sef Faagase join the bench for the first time, while centre Samu Kerevi is also set to make his debut as a substitute.

Openside flank Liam Gill returns from a calf injury to add impact from the bench after logging just 50 minutes of game time in the past nine weeks.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders have made three changes to their pack.

Hooker Liam Coltman, who missed the narrow loss to the Crusaders last week with a calf injury, has returned and taken over from Ged Robinson, who moves to the bench. Ma'afu Fia will start on the tighthead side, with Chris King moving to the bench, while Elliot Dixon has also been benched in favour of Gareth Evans.

Reds – 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Rod Davies, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Subs: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Chris King, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt