Reds set for challenge of Super Rugby big guns

Melissa Woods |

Reds co-captain Liam Wright (top) says the Blues are the biggest challenge in Super Rugby Pacific.
Reds co-captain Liam Wright (top) says the Blues are the biggest challenge in Super Rugby Pacific.

Queensland are bracing themselves for the benchmark Blues, who have been blasting their Super Rugby Pacific rivals off the park, scoring almost 100 points in their past two matches against Australian teams.

The Blues sit second behind the Hurricanes heading into round 10, but showed the third-placed Brumbies who’s boss last Saturday, with a 46-7 thrashing.

That came on the back of a thumping 50-3 victory over the Western Force. 

The Reds host the Aucklanders at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night and will take some confidence from their 31-0 shut-out of the Highlanders to sit sixth on the ladder.

They also have previously matched up well against the Blues in Brisbane, with historically some tight contests.

Co-captain Liam Wright said the Reds were aware of the challenge the visitors presented, describing it as their biggest of the year with the finals looming.

“We recognise the footy they’ve been playing, they’ve been quite dominant, especially over their last three games, so we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us,” Wright said on Friday.

“They’re very clinical in their ‘clean and carry’ and they’ve got physicality across the board, and when they get momentum it’s hard to wrestle it back.

“We’ve got to be strong around our contact area and just be prepared for anything they throw at us.

“The way they’re blowing teams off the park and the scorelines they’re putting forward … they’re the form team of the competition.”

All five Australian teams face New Zealand sides as part of a new Anzac round, and Reds coach Les Kiss said he hoped to make the clash with the Blues an annual fixture.

The Reds will wear a one-off khaki strip honouring the 60 Reds who have served in five wars over 125 years, 11 of them never returning.

“It’d be great to create a similar fixture against the Blues each year, create that tradition,” Kiss said.

“It gives it more depth, the understanding of something bigger than the game.

“It’s going to be a special day, and the jersey, the boys love it.”