Reds strike weapon Digby Ioane's return means Queensland will field their strongest team of the season against a Brumbies side which still can't find a place for Wallabies centre Pat McCabe.

A favourite of Test coach Robbie Deans, McCabe will sit on the Brumbies bench for the second straight week in Saturday's pivotal Super Rugby derby at Suncorp Stadium.

The hard-running 19-Test No.12 made his return from neck and hamstring injuries against the Kings but coach Jake White has again preferred to keep playmakers Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano together as a combination.

McCabe was also overlooked for outside centre with Tevita Kuridrani replacing the injured Andrew Smith following his impressive effort off the bench in the 30-19 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin last weekend.

"To get Tevita on the field after he did such a great job combining with Christian, I just thought I'd keep it the same," White said.

White's other change is the return of blockbusting No.8 Fotu Auelua to the back-row, which moves skipper Ben Mowen to blindside flanker and Jordan Smiler to the bench.

Wallabies winger Ioane's selection on the left wing, setting up an intriguing clash with Fijian Henry Speight, is the only change to the Reds starting 15 who upset the defending champion Chiefs 31-23.

Two-try hero Rod Davies holds his spot on form, and moves to the right wing at the expense of Dom Shipperley, with Ioane recovering from a knee problem.

"It's about opportunity and Rod took his," Reds coaching boss Ewen McKenzie said. "Dom's a good player but Digby is a hard guy to leave out.

"All the key numbers, he's been dominating that all year. And I've never seen a guy more enthusiastic - I think he scored 10 tries at training the other day."

Ioane's return means it's the first time in 2013 that Queensland will boast all their front-line Wallabies in the same side, with James Horwill, Will Genia and Liam Gill all spending time on the sidelines.

Gill said the Reds' confidence - hit by a first-round 24-6 loss in Canberra - was brimming heading into the top-of-the-table clash in which the victors will take the Rod Macqueen Cup and the competition lead.

"We've had great confidence in our depth this year and now we have a lot of our front-line players back," he said.

"We understand how good the Brumbies have been this season and how good they are structurally so we have to come out and fire to win this game."