Reds head coach Brad Thorn has bemoaned his side’s error-riddled pre-season defat to the Waratahs in Narrabri on Friday.
The Queensland side fell short in a 45-33 loss to their New South Wales rivals, with Thorn putting his side’s result down to a slew of errors.
“We got a good hit-out, but [conceded] a few too many errors,” the former All Blacks lock said post-match.
“I know it’s the first trial game, but we mainly just wanted a hit out and we got 80 minutes. A lot of the guys have worked hard over the pre-season and they got an opportunity to get out amongst it.”
Fielding a young side that featured just three of his squad’s 11 Wallabies, Thorn said the match acted as a chance to build some depth within his squad, even if they weren’t as accurate as he’d like in various aspects of the game.
“[It’s] a good opportunity for them,” he said of his youngsters and rookies, of whom included former NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu, who impressed in his debut appearance for the Reds.
“[In our] attacking 40, attacking 22, we need to get a lot more accurate there and we’re probably sloppy at the set piece a little bit.
“I guess this is what happens often every first trial game of the year, so [we have] a bit of work to do.”
When asked for his thoughts on Vunivalu’s performance in his first outing in Queensland colours, Thorn acknowledged the importance of getting the 25-year-old onto the field for his first union match in eight years.
“He just got his hands on the ball a few times. It’s hard to see from where we were, but it’s just important that he got out there and got his first taste of rugby since he’d been 18-years-old.
“He had a few runs, made a few tackles and it was good for him to get out there.”
Despite Vunivalu’s star status – he scored 86 tries in 111 NRL matches and won two titles with the Melbourne Storm – Thorn wouldn’t reveal whether his new recruit would start in Queensland’s season-opener against the Waratahs on February 19.
Early days yet for the NRL sensation. https://t.co/JOngdQNCGq
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 5, 2021
“We’ve got a couple weeks of training. We’ll have a trial internally to have another hit out again. We’ll just see where he gets to. The last thing I want to do is put him under pressure. We’ll make sure he’s ready to go.
“If that means he’s in the squad, he may not be starting or maybe he’ll start, we’ll just see where he gets to through the next week or so.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now