The Waratahs are bracing for a defiant performance from the Reds as the under-siege Queenslanders seek to topple the reigning Super Rugby champions in the same week their marquee signing appears in a Gold Coast court.
Waratahs week at Ballymore has started with a flood of ex-players sending messages to coach Richard Graham, reminding him of how vital it is to give the Old Enemy a decent whack.
ARU boss Bill Pulver's pre-season prediction about three locals in the finals is already looking on the hopeful side.
James O'Connor's impressive Queensland Reds debut was just a taste of what is to come from the rejuvenated former Wallaby, according to coach Richard Graham.
The Queensland Reds were left to rue sloppy errors and poor execution after falling 20-13 to the Highlanders in Friday's Super Rugby clash in Dunedin.
The Queensland Reds were given a hospital pass with Karmichael Hunt receiving a Notice to Appear next Thursday at the Southport Magistrates Court on cocaine charges.
Sometimes the strangest things are dead spot-on. Presently, my five-year-old daughter's obsession is with Enid Blyton's decades-old tale Adventures of the Wishing Chair and its sequel.
The Gold Coast Titans are hopeful their accused players can return to the field after their court appearances in coming weeks but the Queensland Reds are taking a wait-and-see approach to the playing future of star signing Karmichael Hunt.
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin Friday 5.35pm (AEST)
The Queensland Reds have become experts at the backline shuffle in 2015 but it's something Lachie Turner is used to.
James O'Connor will finally make his Queensland Reds debut after being named to start in Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission investigators have started face-to-face meetings with some of the footballers facing cocaine charges as intrigue continues to grow around which domino may be the next to fall in the unfolding scandal.
Revelations that footballers have been using party drugs does not surprise.
Phil Lutton, Kim Stephens
The footballers allegedly caught up in Queensland’s cocaine scandal may have been captured on video liaising with an accused drug dealer at the centre of the unfolding drama, which stands to net more big names.
Queensland Reds star Karmichael Hunt will not be training or playing with the Queensland Reds until his March 5 court date, as the club tries to shift its focus to Friday night's clash with the Highlanders
Five key questions about the cocaine scandal.
Queensland Reds star Karmichael Hunt will not train or play with the side until his March 5 court date.
Karmichael Hunt won't be selected for the Reds to play the Highlanders on Friday night, with the club set to clarify whether the player will be allowed to train with the team.
Reds skipper Slipper said the win had been immensely satisfying after a tough week all around the club.