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No excuses for Thorn: 'If you put on the maroon jersey we expect you to do the job'

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Queensland coach Brad Thorn is dismissing talk the Reds can’t beat the Highlanders without injured Wallabies trio Taniela Tupou, Hunter Paisami and James O’Connor.

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The Reds host the Highlanders in a must-win game at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, looking to snap a two-match Super Rugby Pacific losing streak.

Those losses coincided with a knee injury to veteran playmaker O’Connor, but the task of beating the Kiwi team went up a notch with prop Tupou (calf) and centre Paisami (shoulder) joining him in the casualty ward.

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Thorn said there was more to the Reds than individuals.

“We haven’t talked about injuries, we haven’t talked about James or these other guys and I see that as a positive,” Thorn said on Thursday. “The guys have just got the job done.

 

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“We were missing Jordy [Petaia] and James last week and fell two points short so if we kick a goal or we make the most of our opportunities we get the result.

“We have a belief that if you put on the maroon jersey we expect you to do the job and compete to win. We’re not worried about the names, it’s awesome to have those players but there’s other guys there who will be ripping in.”

Of those players, exciting duo Petaia and Suliasi Vunivalu are back from injury to add some potency on the wings with newly re-signed Jock Campbell remaining at fullback.

The 24-year-old has penned a new two-year deal with the Reds and Rugby Australia, signalling he’s in the Wallabies mix.

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Josh Flook will cover hard-hitting Paisami, partnering Hamish Stewart in the centres.

Thorn said his team had stacked up well in parts against their New Zealand opponents but needed to play for the full 80 minutes and take their chances.

The Highlanders are coming off a hard-fought win over the Drua in Fiji while they were beaten by the Brumbies in the Super Round and sit 10th on the ladder with two victories.

“That’s what we’re looking for – an 80-minute performance,” Thorn said.

“We had opportunities but made errors at crucial times and when you’re up against good opposition in the Hurricanes and then Chiefs, they usually take their opportunities so you’ve got to make the most of your own.”

– Melissa Woods

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