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High-flying Reds must brace for ‘mindset game’ against Aussie rivals

By Finn Morton
Queensland Reds celebrate victory during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between Queensland Reds and Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Queensland Reds have captured the attention of rugby fans across the Pacific with a stunning run of form during the opening four rounds, which included a win over the Chiefs in Brisbane.

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But the Reds, who are currently second on the Super Rugby Pacific standings, will need to brace themselves for “a mindset game” as they prepare to take on the Western Force in Perth.

The Reds are overwhelming favourites ahead of their trip out west, with their upcoming opponents the Force still searching for their first win of the season.

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Playmaker Ben Donaldson and others have performed well in glimpses, but as a collective the Force have struggled to keep up with other sides for the entire 80-minute battle.

With everything pointing towards another win in round five for the Reds, former Wallaby Morgan Turinui has explained why this is an important matchup for the Queenslanders.

“That’s also indicative of the group that there’s a little bit more depth at the Reds there,” Turinui explained on Stan Sports’ The Call Up when asked about the return of Hunter Paisami.

“Lots of the players are in-form, selection isn’t the easiest thing and it’s a very settled Reds team from (coach) Les Kiss.

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“It’s a little bit like the Blues, this is a mindset game for the Reds. They’re overwhelming favourites. They’ve got to go to Perth, which some teams have struggled with.

“It’s the mindset they go over with a Force team that are becoming more and more desperate to show that there’s quality over there.”

Fraser McReight has been especially impressive during the opening month of the season with the Wallaby recording an incredible four try assists during last week’s win over the Rebels.

Match Summary

0
Penalty Goals
1
4
Tries
8
3
Conversions
5
0
Drop Goals
0
117
Carries
149
2
Line Breaks
12
14
Turnovers Lost
12
5
Turnovers Won
6

The flanker stole the show along with lock Seru Uru, who became the first Queensland lock to score two tries in a match since the inaugural Super Rugby season in 1996.

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While the Reds were practically perfect during their 53-26 round three win, the season-ending injury to Issac Henry is a big blow – but Hunter Paisami has come into the starting side as a direct replacement.

“It’s not just over the ditch over your side that’s been keeping an eye on how the Reds are playing, it’s over here (in New Zealand) as well,” Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Mils Muliaina had said earlier.

“They just keep getting better and better.

“To win like they did against the Rebels last week, that was huge.

“(Tom) Lynagh comes back into it. (Hunter) Paisami, all he adds is a little bit of physicality and also a bit of steel within that midfield.

“They continue this, the Reds are looking really good.”

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