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'We weren't up to the task': Reds candid ahead of NZ clashes

By AAP
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Preparation for Queensland’s Super Rugby Pacific match against the Hurricanes has been months in the making with the Reds targeting the game back in the pre-season.

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After a dismal trans-Tasman competition last year that only yielded one win from five games, the 2021 Super Rugby AU champions vowed to improve in 2022.

They get their first chance to test just how far they’ve come when the Reds and Hurricanes meet at AAMI Park on Saturday night as part of Super Round in Melbourne, where all 12 teams were scheduled to play over the weekend to start the trans-Tasman match ups.

After playing all of the other Australian sides twice the Reds sit third on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with just one loss from eight games while the Hurricanes, who have only played fellow Kiwi teams, are seventh with four wins and four losses.

“We really pointed this one out as where we fell over last year,” Reds flanker Liam Wright told AAP.

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“We were really pleased with how we went against the Aussie teams last year but we really fell over against the Kiwi teams and their style of play.

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“A lot of our pre-season was aimed at combating those skills and developing our own so we’re looking to put that into action this weekend and test ourselves.”

Wright said the Reds’ matches against Australian teams had been mostly set-pieced based and they would try to be more attacking against the Kiwis.

“We think we’ve got that attacking component that can match it with the Kiwis but we need to make sure our defensive systems stay in line,” the 24-year-old said.

“Last year we felt we stuck with them for about 50-60 minutes and then got blown away so we need to put it all together in an 80-minute performance.”

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The Reds will be without injured star playmaker James O’Connor with Lawson Creighton named at No 10.

Jordan Petaia is also sidelined with a hamstring issue with Jock Campbell at fullback.

Wright himself recently had surgery on a syndesmosis injury but is hopeful of returning towards the back of the season.

He said that after securing the Super Rugby AU trophy last year, winning the entire competition was the next step.

He denied there were any rumblings from within the camp about coach Brad Thorn and said they fully backed his approach.

“We really made a huge point last year of wanting to come home with the [Super Rugby AU] trophy and we did that and then we weren’t up to the task mentally and physically in the trans-Tasman,” Wright said.

“This year it’s all in one so our wins so far will count towards the finals picture which is really important.

“We want to show some growth and reward our fans and prove to ourselves we can match it with them.”

– Melissa Woods

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