Wallabies skipper James Horwill's prolonged injury woes will force him to miss the start of the Super Rugby season for the Queensland Reds.
The Reds have ruled Horwill out of Saturday night's round one clash with the Brumbies in Canberra and appointed prop James Slipper as captain.
The Wallabies lock had been set to make his long-awaited comeback from hamstring surgery in last Friday night's trial match against the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast before injuring his ankle at training.
Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie admitted Horwill was close to full fitness but did not want to take any risks with his return to action.
McKenzie now expects the 200cm second-rower to play his first game in nine months against the NSW Waratahs in round two.
''As we've done all off-season we've taken a cautious approach with James and his rehab and on this occasion we all agreed it would be best to give him another week on the sideline,'' he said.
''But as we said last week, his ankle is only a minor setback, and we fully expect him to be healthy when we play our first game of the year at Suncorp Stadium next week.''
Adam Wallace-Harrison is now expected to team with Rob Simmons in the Queensland second-row against the Brumbies, who missed last year's play-offs by a bonus point.
A left-field choice to lead the Reds in their 20-8 loss to the Chiefs, Slipper, the Stan Pilecki Medallist in 2012, will have centre Ben Tapuai as his vice-captain.
''It's extremely humbling to be chosen as captain for the Reds, especially when you think about the many great captains Queensland has produced over the years,'' Slipper said.
''It's a huge game to start our year and the Brumbies proved last year what a quality side they can be.
''We'll need to be at the top of our game if we are going to walk away with the result we're after.''
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