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'We all know it': Reds cook up response to Force's 'must-win' mentality

WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 12: Queensland Reds huddle during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Queensland Reds at Semenoff Stadium, on April 12, 2024, in Whangarei, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Forty-eight eggs, 2kg of steak, just as much chicken, bacon and a pot of rice always boiling on the stove.


It’s a glimpse at the week in dietary requirements of Queensland Reds housemates Zane Nonggorr and George Blake, the Gold Coast schoolmates who this week both confirmed two-year extensions to remain at Ballymore until 2026.

Test prop Nonggorr, still just 23, lets the 22-year-old Blake do most of the cooking.

Add that to the resume of a man able to play both hooker and prop at the elite level.

“It gets up there,” Nonggorr said of the grocery bill.

“But Tonga’s (Blake) probably a better cook than I am. He eats more though, so it makes sense.”

Nonggor will start on the bench against the Western Force in the Reds’ last Suncorp Stadium clash of the season on Saturday, Blake dropping out of the side due to the return of rested Test hooker Matt Faessler.

Victory in the penultimate regular-season round for the hosts would lock up fifth spot and a quarter-final against New Zealand’s Chiefs in Hamilton.

And it would leave the Force’s hopes of a top-eight finish and finals appearance hanging by a thread, Simon Cron’s side notching vital back-to-back wins but still two points behind Fijian Drua.

A loss would leave the Force needing to beat the Brumbies in the final round, and the eight-placed Drua to drop their final two games, to jump into the eight.


“We have probably been in must-win territory for the last two or three weeks,” Cron said.

“So it’s the same mindset; the boys know it, we all know it.”

“The Reds, they’re a good side with some good results this year and they’ll come out firing.”

The Force played some of their best attacking rugby in a 40-31 defeat of the Reds at home that snapped a four-game losing streak to begin the season and severely dented the Reds’ hopes of a top-four finish.

“There’s a lot to learn from that game,” Nonggorr said.

“How they play and how we can improve our defence; we need to work harder to counter that expansive game. It’s all eyes ahead to Saturday.”

Fullback Kurtley Beale will play for the Force after the mid-week birth of his second child while Tom Lynagh (hamstring) is back from an injury lay-off to wear the Reds’ No.10.


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1 Comment
john 31 days ago

Without Vunivalu undermining the team and Lynagh at 10 the Reds should perform much better. Should.
Especially if Uru is playing.

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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