Matwijow ready for baptism of fire with Reds

Ready to go ... Ben Matwijow in training for the Reds. Photo: AAP Image.
Ready to go ... Ben Matwijow in training for the Reds. Photo: AAP Image.

Reds second-rower Ben Matwijow could not be making his run-on Super Rugby debut in a harsher environment.

Playing at lung-busting altitude against the Bulls at the intimidating Loftus Versfeld early Sunday morning (Australian time) is where he will notch up his memorable appearance. But he can't wait for the showdown, given the opportunity with Rob Simmons sidelined due to a shoulder injury.

With a stack of first-grade games already under his belt and an ITM premiership title with Canterbury last year, it's no wonder Matwijow feels ready for a baptism of fire.

"Here in South Africa against the Bulls doesn't get much tougher," he said.

"My lungs will be burning a bit, but it's a great challenge I'm looking forward to.

"They're a good, physical pack and I look forward to trying to match it with them."

There are also two changes to Queensland's bench, with uncapped under-20s second-rower Lukhan Tui and halfback James Tuttle in line to make their debuts.

Tui's inclusion follows Matwijow's promotion to the starting side, while 2015 Queensland Country captain Tuttle has replaced injured No.9 Scott Gale (hand).

Meanwhile, the Reds have signed former Broncos forward Caleb Timu, 22, through to the end of 2017.

Timu will train with ex-All Black Brad Thorn at Ballymore over the next two weeks. Thorn was elevated to an assistant coach of the senior team after coaching the Reds to the inaugural Super Under-20s title.