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'We need the belief': Reds aim to upset Chiefs again

(Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

Tate McDermott is among a host of Queensland Reds players he says owe coach Brad Thorn plenty ahead of what history suggests will be his final game as coach.


The Reds are in Hamilton ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific knockout quarter-final against the Chiefs.

No Australian team has won a Super Rugby play-off game in New Zealand and the Chiefs have dominated this season to finish clear at the top of the ladder.

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The Reds limped into the play-offs in eighth but tore up the script against the Chiefs in New Plymouth last month, defending 27 phases after the siren to clinch a 25-22 win that ended a 10-year drought across the ditch.

While it came against a home side resting several of their All Blacks stars, it was the Chiefs’ only loss in a season that featured plenty of player rotation.

“You can take a little bit of belief, but if you look at the team lists they’re pretty different,” captain and halfback McDermott said.

“So we need the belief, but we need quite a bit more against a pretty good outfit.”



McDermott, Fraser McReight and injured pair Liam Wright and Jordan Petaia headline an emerging Reds group who have risen through the ranks to become Wallabies under six-year coach Thorn.

The dual international won’t continue at Ballymore next season, Thorn taking a break after 30 years as a player and coach across both rugby codes.

“For me and a lot of other fellas, he brought us all through and we owe him a lot,” McDermott said.

“We’ll be going out there thinking about Brad in the back of our minds.

“He’s been a terrific servant and we’ll be going out there trying to make him proud.”

The Chiefs welcome back rested skipper Sam Cane in a side stacked with Test talent and piloted by form five-eighth Damian McKenzie.


But even McKenzie ran out of ideas when the Reds’ defence held strong last month.

“We just came up against a really good Reds side that night,” Cane said.

“We weren’t quite as clinical but not much between the two teams.

“There might be a few boys in the squad pretty keen to have another crack at the Reds, but there’s no lack of motivation when it gets to this point of the season.

“I think they’ll just be throwing everything at it, both teams will.

“No point saving for anything else, so I think you’ll see a fairly big lift in intensity.”


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