Role change for Reds' Super Rugby ace Timu

Captain Scott Higginbotham's return to the Queensland Reds' starting team against the Brumbies means potential Wallabies bolter Caleb Timu must press his claims from another position.

Queensland Reds player Caleb Timu has shifted positions to make way for captain Scott Higginbotham.

Queensland Reds player Caleb Timu has shifted positions to make way for captain Scott Higginbotham.

Timu has made a big impression as a running No.8 during Higginbotham's three-match suspension and he has been singled out for praise by Australian coach Michael Cheika.

However, he has been moved to blindside flanker for the clash with the Brumbies on Saturday night in Canberra, as veteran Higginbotham resumes in his regular back-row position, having returned via the bench in the last-start loss to the Stormers.

The Wallabies have struggled in recent years to find a top-line ball-running No.8 and converted openside flanker David Pocock will be favoured to return this year to that spot.

But 24-year-old Timu has loomed as a possible newcomer who plays more like ex-Wallabies great Toutai Kefu.

Queensland coach Brad Thorn was looking forward to seeing how his new-look back row fired after their bye round, and said Higginbotham was desperate to lead the side out for the first time since his ban after round one.

The former Wallaby has had a big week off the field also, welcoming his first baby boy.

"We're pleased to be able to welcome Scott (Higginbotham) back to the starting side and the captaincy," Thorn said.

"He's been itching to get back into the Reds' jersey and will want to build on his performance from two weeks ago.

"Lukhan (Tui) is in a similar position, having not played since his suspension so he's keen to make his mark."

In another significant change to the Reds' line-up, Eto Nabuli returns on the wing, shifting Chris Feauai-Sautia into a powerful centre combination with Samu Kerevi. Duncan Paia'aua drops out of the match squad.

Thorn's youth policy is set to create another milestone, with outside back Jordan Petaia named on the bench for the first time and poised to become the Reds' youngest Super Rugby debutant at 18 years and 24 days.

Kerevi said he'd been impressed with Petaia's hard work as well as his talent.

"It's fitting he gets his opportunity as he's a humble kid who puts his head down and works hard," Kerevi said on Thursday.

"He's pretty strong for a young kid, he uses his feet well and he's got explosive speed to take off.

"He reminds me of a young Chris (Feauai-Sautia)."

REDS:

Aidan Toua, Filipo Daugunu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Eto Nabuli, Jono Lance, Ben Lucas, Scott Higginbotham (capt), Adam Korczyk, Caleb Timu, Kane Douglas, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper.

Res: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Lukhan Tui, Liam Wright, James Tuttle, Hamish Stewart, Jordan Petaia.

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