Incumbent Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley has warned his NSW Waratahs side against playing his Test rival Quade Cooper into form.
Cooper has played just two Super Rugby matches for the lowly Reds since returning from a two-month layoff caused by a fractured shoulder.
The mercurial Reds pivot came off the bench for Foley in Australia’s last two Tests of 2014, and will line up against him in Sydney on Saturday.
“It’s exciting, I think it’s good that he’s back playing footy,” Foley said.
“If we give them time and space, they will definitely hurt us, so it’s something we’ve got to nullify.
“We don’t want to play a bloke like that back into form.”
Asked if he viewed Foley as a genuine threat to his Test spot Foley said: “He’s a quality player, he’s played a lot of footy in that jersey, so definitely.”
Cooper’s presence is likely to prompt Queensland to play an open game according to Waratahs attack coach Daryl Gibson.
“The way the Reds want to play and with the playmakers they have and the talent in their team, I’m sure they will want it to be open,” Gibson said.
Although Queensland have no chance of making the finals Gibson predicted their Wallabies aspirants would treat the Reds final game of their Super Rugby campaign like a Test trial, especially with Wallabies and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika watching at close quarters.
“They (Queensland) have so many champion players, when you have players of that calibre in your team, they are always going to be a threat,” Gibson said.
“It would be foolish for us not to prepare in a way that respects the Reds and what they are capable of.
“I’d say they will be coming here with a lot of motivation. It’s an opportunity for them to get in front of the Australian coach and they will probably see that as an Australian trial.”