Lance impressed by Reds No.10 rival

Young gun Hamish Stewart has received a vote of confidence as Queensland's new No.10 ahead of the Super Rugby season - from his rival Jono Lance.

Hamish Stewart is in competition with Jono Lance for the Reds vacant No.10 jersey.

Hamish Stewart is in competition with Jono Lance for the Reds vacant No.10 jersey.

But Lance is still confident of stepping up as Reds five-eighth in Quade Cooper's absence in next week's season opener at Melbourne.

Lance, 27, may be in competition with Stewart for the No.10 jersey after Reds coach Brad Thorn told Cooper he was not in his 2018 plans with two years left on his contract.

However, Lance couldn't help but talk up the 19-year-old after they helped Queensland hold out second-tier Fiji Warriors 17-15 in their final trial on Thursday night.

Lance's darting run set up Queensland's opening try while Stewart's quick hands helped free winger Izaia Perese for his 75th-minute effort that locked up the scores 15-15.

Stewart then coolly potted the conversion from near the Ballymore sideline to ice the win - and avoid red faces.

"I am pretty excited by what I have seen from Hamish for the four weeks I have been here," late arrival Lance said of Stewart.

"He is 19, he's got an old head on his shoulders, and he's tough from the country, which is what you need in that position at such a young age."

However, two-time Super Rugby title winner Lance is still focused on the No.10 jersey that lured him from Melbourne this year.

Lance left the now-defunct Western Force and initially signed with the Rebels for 2018 before deciding instead to have a crack at the Reds' vacant No.10 spot barely a month ago.

Lance started at five-eighth against the Warriors on Thursday night, his first game in Queensland colours since starting his career at the Reds from 2011-13.

"There is good competition at the moment with Hamish," Lance said.

"I think you need competition.

"I am excited about challenging him and him challenging me.

"I want to be starting against Melbourne but I am sure if you asked Hamish, he would give the same answer."

Thorn did not give anything away on his No.10 preference ahead of the February 23 season opener against the Rebels.

"There are two good guys there," he said.

"Hamish is like a younger version of Jono, they are very similar: they are tough, competitive.

"We will just see what happens next week, we will look into that."

Lance and Stewart had rare chances to steer the attack due to the Reds' poor ball handling in steamy conditions.

"It was frustrating to watch. I thought we defended reasonably well for long periods, but our ball control let us down in attack," Thorn said.

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