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Reds prop bringing it Holmes
Jim Morton
11:33 AEST Sat Jan 19 2013

He may have played his last Test six years ago, but Queensland Reds stalwart Greg Holmes sees a prime opportunity to make a shock Wallabies comeback against the British and Irish Lions.

Poised to become just the third prop to join the Reds' 100 caps club, Holmes also has bigger ambitions on his mind heading into his ninth Super Rugby season.

The front-rower turns 30 just before the three-Test Lions series kicks off on June 22 but there's no way he believes he's over the hill, or out of contention.

While Holmes did miss an invite to this week's Wallabies logistics camp in Sydney, attended by 49 leading candidates, he remains encouraged by being named a shadow player for the recent spring tour of Europe.

"The Wallabies started to notice me a little bit last year," he told AAP.

"While it doesn't mean much it's good to know they're still thinking about me and with a Lions tour this year it's huge and I'd love to be a part of that so I'll be throwing everything into getting there.

"That would be something pretty special."

With Benn Robinson unable to regain complete control of the Wallabies No.1 jersey after his return from knee surgery last season, Holmes has spotted a chance to crow-bar his way back into loose-head contention.

Sekope Kepu, Ben Alexander and fellow Reds prop James Slipper all have Wallabies experience at No.1 but have played more of their recent rugby at tight-head.

The irony isn't lost on Holmes that he's a better prop now than he was as a young buck in 2005-07 when he played all of his 13 Tests.

"It's pretty hard to look back now and think 'Gee I'm a lot better now than I was then'," he said.

"I'm a lot bigger and stronger and I'd like to think I'm a bit smarter but it's experience I'll never forget."

But first he must keep his No.1 jersey at the Reds ahead of Ben Daley. Able to play tight-head almost as well, only injuries will prevent Holmes notching his 100-match milestone in 2013.

Currently sitting on 88, he would become the first new member in six years and join Dan Crowley (124) and Stan Pilecki (122) as the only props in the revered club.

"I'm pretty excited to get there," he said.

"It would be a great group to be a part of - it would be awesome."

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