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Reds' McReight lining up All Black skipper for do-or-die clash

By AAP
(Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

A big performance battling All Blacks captain Sam Cane could be exactly what Queensland’s Fraser McReight needs to punch his ticket to the World Cup later this year.

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It’s one intriguing positional matchup for this weekend’s Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final where the top-ranked Chiefs take on the eighth-placed Reds in Hamilton, with the visitor long-odds to upset the competition’s best team.

But in-form openside flanker McReight won’t die wondering after a stunning campaign that’s potentially seen him climb past Michael Hooper in the Wallabies depth chart.

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If there’s any doubt about that prospect now, out-duelling Chiefs star Cane could put an end to that on Saturday.

“Sam has been All Blacks captain for a lot of years now and he’s played a lot of games and had a lot of success, so for me this is a great opportunity to go against one of the best and I’m really looking forward to it,” McReight said.

“It’s been a good season, every year I am trying to get better and I’m perfecting these little areas of my game that I want to work on.

“I’ve been able to play a lot of minutes this year, and for me I’ve been able to do that week in, week out.

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“Another result this weekend and another performance is what’s needed.”

The Reds hit their daunting quarter-final test in the odd situation of already boasting a win against the Chiefs in New Zealand in 2023, the 11-time Super Rugby champions’ only loss so far this campaign.

It was clearly the Reds’ best performance to date, precision kicking and a gutsy defensive outing seeing them stifle their hosts back in round 12.

But McReight understood the post-season version of the Chiefs was likely to be a different beast, particularly as they seek revenge on the Reds.

“Finals are a new competition,” he said.

“It’s great and awesome to make the top eight and obviously we’re a bit upset and gutted after the result on the weekend but we can put that behind us and we can move on and can put all our attention to Chiefs this week.

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“Obviously they’re gonna be a different team to when we played them last … defence is crucial, holding the ball and kicking really well … for us to get a result we have to do those areas really well.”

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