Reds to unveil Higginbotham signing

The Queensland Reds are set to unveil one final coup for next season when they confirm the signing of former Wallaby back-rower Scott Higginbotham.

Enforcer Higginbotham is understood to have signed a three-year deal to return to Ballymore at the conclusion of his current deal with Japan’s NEC Green Rockets in early 2017.

It will give the Reds a potential back row of Higginbotham, George Smith and Hendrik Tui and caps off what is arguably the best Super Rugby roster of any Australian franchise.

Higginbotham, 30, will also come back into Test consideration with the move at a time when Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is tinking with his loose forward set-up, with the impending departure of David Pocock next year.

The Reds will announce their full 38-man squad on Wednesday morning, which is also believed to include former NRL player Lachlan Maranta.

Maranta is the grandson of one of the founders of the Brisbane Broncos, for whom he has played for the last five seasons.

The 24-year-old will serve as back-up to current Reds fullback Karmichael Hunt while also adding depth on the wings.

Higginbotham and Maranta join fellow recruits Smith, Quade Cooper, Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, Leroy Houston and Caleb Timu, while the in-form Samu Kerevi has been retained along with James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Kane Douglas and Nick Frisby, who were already on the books.

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