'It's a change-up': Reds boss Brad Thorn relishing COVID-enforced stay away from home
Table-topping Queensland feel swapping Cape Town for Coogee could work in their favour as they prepare to take on Melbourne in their Super Rugby AU clash at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The Reds travelled to Melbourne on Thursday night from Sydney, where they’ve spent the week after being forced to stay on following their win over the Waratahs after Brisbane was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.
With South Africa no longer part of the Super Rugby competition and the long-haul trips that came with it, Reds coach Brad Thorn said his team were embracing some time together on the road.
“It’s not the end of the world to be stuck at Coogee, it’s a nice spot, it’s a change-up,” Thorn said on Thursday.
“With Super Rugby AU it’s not like normal Super Rugby where you go to Africa for a couple of weeks – that used to be a challenging trip but it was also a good bonding time for the team so in a way it’s been a positive thing.”
The Reds can at least travel home after the match after the Brisbane lockdown was lifted and will host the Brumbies Saturday week.
Queensland will be without star winger Suliasi Vunivalu in a blow for their attack given the ex-Melbourne Storm flyer knows AAMI Park intimately after his years with the NRL premiers.
Suffering a hamstring injury, Thorn expected him to be sidelined for up to three weeks.
Thorn acknowledged that the Rebels had improved since that round two meeting.
“It’s always a tough contest – we saw they were buoyed to be finally back at home playing and they will be excited about that,” Thorn said.
“They have improved as we see them as a really big challenge and we’re going to have to be on our game to go down there and get the result that they want.”
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