Slipper keen to play in Holmes’ Reds farewell

Date published: July 11 2016

Reds captain James Slipper is determined to play in his side's last match of the season against the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane on Friday.

Slipper is battling a sternum injury he sustained in the Test series and which flared again in the Reds’ loss to the Chiefs last Friday.

His front row partner Greg Holmes is set to play in his final match for 2011 champions, before he joins the Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership, and Slipper is desperate to be part of the action against the Rebels.

Together, loosehead Slipper and tighthead Holmes have been crucial in the side building a formidable scrum in Super Rugby this season.

Such skill, power and teamwork take years to develop, and the captain is confident all that progress will not be eroded when Holmes leaves.

“Holmesy’s a great scrummager and a lot of our success in that area has come off his back,” Slipper told the Reds' official website.

“But we want to be sustainable and, to his credit, he’s almost always the first one at training and the last one to leave.

“He spends a lot of time with the younger props and has become a mentor to a lot of them. He wants to see guys like Sam Talakai and Taniela Tupou do well.

“You can’t replace some one like Greg Holmes but we’ve still got a great back five and there’s room for improvement.”

Slipper will do everything in his power to get on the field and finish the Super Rugby campaign on a high note.

“It’s pretty sore and I really want to play,” he said.

“But I don’t want to go out there, only last 30 minutes and put the team under pressure.

“Playing with Holmesy would be pretty special but the team comes first.

“Our last two games have been pretty disappointing but this game is about finishing strong and giving our fans something to cheer about.”