Queensland Reds captain James Horwill (left) and coach Ewen McKenzie.
Queensland Reds captain James Horwill (left) and coach Ewen McKenzie. Dave Hunt

Horwill to miss Reds campaign

THE Queensland Reds will have to try and defend their Super Rugby crown without the services of James Horwill.

The Wallabies and Queensland captain will undergo surgery on his injured hamstring in Sydney today after scans yesterday showed it had not improved using non-surgical rehabilitation methods.

Horwill ruptured the hamstring during last month's 13-12 Super Rugby win against the high-flying Brumbies in Canberra.

The ARU issued a statement saying the surgery would not significantly alter the timeline for Horwill's return to the paddock.

While there is still some hope he could make the Wallabies Spring Tour in November, "It is more likely that he will not be ready to return until next year's Super Rugby competition," the ARU said.

Horwill's absence could see veteran lock Nathan Sharpe push back his retirement date as the Wallabies experienced second-row depth is extremely thin.

David Pocock will continue to lead the Wallabies in Horwill's absence, while Will Genia is tipped to take over at the Reds once the Super Rugby resumes later this month.

The Queenslanders are second on the Australian Conference ladder and ninth overall.

They will tackle the Rebels at Melbourne's AAMI Park on June 29.