Match Preview: Hurricanes v Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Match Preview: Hurricanes v Reds

Match Preview: Hurricanes v Reds

If you follow social media then it sure looked like the Reds blast enjoyed their time in Tokyo last week. Acknowledging you don’t see the team training sessions on these Instagram stories etc, but coming off the bye it seems as though the players soaked up the fun in one of the world’s great cities.

The fun stopped abruptly come Saturday afternoon when their match against the Sunwolves commenced.  Coach Brad Thorn suggested he knew early on that the team was off kilter and you don’t need the experience of any of his mentors, Wayne Bennet or Robbie Deans, to have picked up the same.  Despite ‘being in it’ for a while, thanks to two driving maul tries, the Reds were terrible as much as the Sunwolves were terrific.

So it’s fair to suggest this would have been a tough week for the team. I mean it’s never great to lose, let alone to have 60 points put on you, let alone by a previously winless team let alone one that had struggled to score points in their most recent encounters.  I’m guessing the team don’t read the papers, let alone the GAGR forum, but if they did they would have been treated to an outpouring of anger and frustration.

I would suggest, however, that there is little doubt that avoided feeling the anger and frustration of coach Thorn this week at training however. While he has an at times habit of smirking through post-loss press conferences, given his reputation I’d imagine he wouldn’t have been smirking in the Monday morning team review.

To cap off what must have been a tough week of training the team is rewarded with a flight to Wellington where they must face the high-flying Hurricanes in conditions that look pretty damn yuk.

FORM:

The Reds’ form is too hard to read. Beating the Lions one week and then next game crashing to the Sunwolves. Who the hell knows which team will turn up this weekend? Well I guess we have a fair idea of one of the teams – the Hurricanes. Opta Stats tells us the Hurricanes have won 19 of their last 20 games at home, including their last seven in a row.  They actually haven’t lost to an Aussie team at home for about three years. They’ve also won 13 of their last 15 games against the Reds including their last four in a row.

Bauden Barrett scores a late try

The Reds need to stop Beauden Barrett

TEAMS:

It’s hard not to acknowledge Jamie Miller’s ‘Failing Up’ article of earlier this week when we see the lack of changes to this Reds team.  The backline remains intact, except for the omission of Chris Feauai-Sautia through injury. Likewise the pack remains basically the same except for the return of Scott Higginbotham after a half of club rugby last week and JP Smith given James Slipper a rest. Andrew Ready makes a rare return to the match day squad with a spot on the bench.

The Hurricanes also welcome back their skipper with TJ Perenara returning to the starting side after returning from the bench last week. Jordie Barret is also back in the starting line-up while the exciting Peter Umaga-Jensen will make his debut in the centres. It’s a handy bench when it can feature ‘future-Pom’ Brad Shields and the ‘Bus’ Julian Savea.

Reds:

15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith. Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua

Hurricanes: 

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith. Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea

MATCH UPS:

The Halves:

With Perenara’s return to the Canes outfit the home team boast arguably the most dangerous attacking halves combo in Super Rugby if not provincial competitions world-wide. That may in some way explain why Thorn has opted to stick with his experienced heads, Jono Lance and Ben Lucas. Neither of the “L’s” were at their best last weekend with Lucas pulled at half time, perhaps through injury or perhaps as a result of his below-par clearance work.  Meanwhile Lance was unable to stimulate his backline attack despite opportunities to keep his team in touch with the Sunwolves. Both Lance and Lucas, however, have strong defensive games and perhaps this was enough to keep them in the starting team. It does potentially expose Hamish Stewart, who struggled positionally at fullback last weekend, against one of the better attacking kicking exponents in the game.

The Hot-Steppers:

This one shouldn’t really decide the game and it’s actually likely that they won’t directly match-up, but in the spirit of finding opposite positions to keep an eye out, then why not Nehe Milner-Skudder and Filipo Dugunu. You can bet NMS will be afforded a whole heap more ball, and better ball at that, and will prove a danger every moment (if he can remain unharmed). Meanwhile Daugunu will need to work hard for his opportunities and will find it hard enough to contain Ben Lam, who is absolutely el fuego at the moment.

Duncan Paia'aua gets a clearance kick away

Duncan Paia’aua has returned to the starting side

PREDICTION:

Acknowledging the only other Match Preview I have done this season was the Lions game where I said the Lions would win easily, I expect the Hurricanes to win easily…..so….over to you Reds….

Match Details:

Date:                         Friday 18th April

Venue:                     Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-off:                   7:35pm Wellington time (5:35pm Brisbane time)

Referee:                  New Zealander Ben O’Keefe (urgh)

AR1:                          Another New Zealander

AR2:                          Another New Zealander

TMO:                        Another New Zealander

Weather:                Scattered showers, max of 15°

  • Bobas

    More than happy to be proven wrong but Hamish Stewart playing in 15 again is a huge mistake for mine. I’ve never been a huge Toua fan but his positioning and agility would be a better counter to the hurricanes style.

    Ben O’Keefe and his band of blind kiwis… I can’t wait to see George Smith get penalised out of game and Taniela Thor off for cleaning someone out too hard.

    • Adrian

      Exactly re Stewart.
      At 5/8 his defence would be useful, and if Tua was at Full-back, there would be a chance of a fluke try, because he does have speed.
      Slow passing from 9, and medium passing from 10 really retard Reds, but they aren’t the only team doing this

    • Keith Butler

      OKeefe was appalling last week but even with him reffing the Canes should cruise this one. These games should have neutral refs to remove any perception of bias. The NH season is pretty much over and there must be a shed load of international refs who would like a 3or 4 week break Downunder.

  • Missing Link

    Reds game plan should be to elbow Beaden Barrett in the face, then jump over him to score a try.

    • juswal

      And then elbow him in the face again.

      • Missing Link

        and again and again and again :)

    • Archie

      I’m sure the ‘Canes would be happy to concede that… if by the same token they get two of their own tries awarded after being offside and having a knock on ignored.

      Will take that deal.

      • Will

        If you consider those misses comparable to an elbow to the throat then we follow different versions of the game

      • Mica

        Happy with that as long as a penalty is blown every time a kiwi is offside.
        Wouldn’t be much of a spectacle though

        • Hoss

          And when did Matt Todd start playing prop ??

          Hoiles is right, we have to get better at the off-the-ball stuff and fight fire with fire – that or just punch someone in the head to get their attention and cease or desist.

        • Keith Butler

          Back in the old days when the refs were the sole arbiters of the law and the touchies came from the 2 clubs we could get away with off the ball stuff. Get all the nonsense sorted out early on and just get on with the game. Not any more though.

        • Hoss

          i hear you mate. Allow a 10-15 minute softening up period and let the players set the tone, pull my shirts – ill smash your face in, loosie sliding up the scrum to bind on opposing prop – ill smash your face in, your names Wyatt Crocket – i’ll smash your face in.

        • Keith Butler

          Got my seniors card yesterday so you may surmise that I’m old school. You’re dead right though sort it out in the first 15 mins although I have played the odd game where the ‘sorting’ went the full 80. Wyatt Crockett; great to see him play 200 SR games but wouldn’t you just like to push his nose round past his ear. Get’s away with murder at scrum time.

      • Braveheart81

        So, enlighten us. Which Waratahs try involved an offside and which one a knock on?

      • Hoss

        So Beale elbowed in throat, Hannigan cleaned out from the side and twisted and out for a month and Wells in a lifting tackle driven onto his head and Todd binding onto our prop and and and and and …………

        Yep – your lot are sure hard done by.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Totally agree with your PS. I am sick of seeing this consistent cheating, with a result this close, and the people complaining about the cheating then end their comment with “…but the Crusaders were the better team and deserved to win…” No they damn well weren’t. If that try was disallowed like it should have been, and Moody red carded like he should have been, and the Tahs awarded the penalty like they should have been. Plus all the other infringements that were unfairly and unevenly policed. Then the Tahs would have won easily, and would have rightfully been considered the better team that deserved to win. I see this over and over again, where NZ teams get the rub of the green from the refs and win when they shouldn’t. The 2011 world cup final is another case in point where the French absolutely would have won if the ref wasn’t so blatantly biased, and they damn well would have deserved to win. I’m sick of this bullshit where the NZ teams keep deliberately training to cheat, knowing that they, and only they, will get away with it, and keep winning close games, not because they are better, but because they and the refs are cheats. Now don’t get me wrong, I know full well that the kiwis are very good players, and would win a lot of games just on merit. What I am saying is take away the cheating and the biased refereeing, and they wouldn’t be so damn unbeatable. And it shits me actually wanting to write this, because I despise whinging about refs, because I know they are only human and make mistakes and you win some you lose some. But in the case of the NZ teams, it isn’t a case of you win some you lose some with the refs, its a case of you win very few and you lose a shit ton with the refs. This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XBqetaCfgo is absolutely case in point. Not only does it show how blatantly biased the refereeing was a the world cup final. But it also shows the very people highlighting the bias, then go on to say that the All Blacks deserved to win. No they damn well didn’t. The French deserved to win it. Man up and say the full fucking truth, the All Blacks damn well did NOT deserve to win that world cup.

        • Missing Link

          Everyone felt sorry for NZ because despite being such an awesome team they lost to the French in 2007, and hadn’t won since 1987, it was their home world cup and the Christchurch earthquake. It was also supposed to be Sir Ruchie’s swansong which wasn’t. In the end it was an excuse for pathetic knuckle draggers to spit on and abuse Aussies and constantly boo one of our players so much that kiwis were dressing up as fans of other nations who were playing against Australia, simply to abuse Aussies. I’d be embarrassed if I was a kiwi.

        • Archie

          Hahahaha Wow dream on. Yeah a South African referee was ‘biased’ towards NZ… go figure?! I suppose you overlook the fact that the exact same referee saved the Wallabies from an embarrassing (and deserved) early Rugby World Cup QF exit with some dodgy officiating… but I suppose that was not ‘bias’… right?

          This would also be the same referee who gifted the Waratahs an underserved Super Rugby title in 2014 with some more dodgy handiwork… but that’s not ‘bias’ either right?

          The earlier you quit your delusion… the better you’ll be in the long run. Get better soon

  • Adrian

    Yes, well….

    Reds tipped to lose by 27.5 by bookies.
    I doubt it will be by that much, mainly because Reds will be absolutely stinging after last week.
    Canes play a similar style IMO to Sunwolves,. but might be slightly complacent.

    Good Duncan P is back, but I still don’t understand Stewart at 15, and Lance at 10. If it was a different coach, I’d expect them to swap a lot, but I’m not sure. I don’t think that Stewart’s good defence will be much use at 15, as he is likely to be out of position, and even if he isn’t, tackling Lam or NMS 1:1 isn’t easy.

    Good also JPS is back. He’s better in scrums than Slipper …IMO.

    I think Reds will try to limit the damage, and hope that Duagunu can grab an opportunist try or two. Duncan may be able to manufacture something,…and George Smith might rattle Beauden Barrett….who is rattleable

    Probably a good game of boxer v fighter, so worth watching for Barrett sleight of hand and/or foot, and Tuopo on the charge

  • Adrian

    The weather forecast should say shattered scours, not scattered showers

  • Mica

    Is there a better/more dangerous back three running around than J Barrett, NMS and Lam?
    Also looks like a couple of Canes back rowers being rested which equals fire power later in the game (especially Fifita)
    Imagine being able to have Julian Savea on the bench with a stronger back three starting *shakes head*…..
    Reds are going to have to play out of their skin to get close in this one especially with the Canes having home ground advantage in every sense of the words.
    Looking to see continuing strong efforts from Reds wingers, long raking kicks from Stewart, guile and class from Smith, continued drive, enthusiasm and work ethic from ASY and a work your a$$ off approach from the rest of the pack.
    If we can do this well, I won’t worry about the score.

  • Will

    Well Reds away against the Canes undefeated all season at home with NZ Rugby Gestapo (kiwi Refs) controlling the game. Bit of a foregone conclusion.

    …to be fair to the Canes, even without the help of Ben O’Keefe and his merry men I still can’t see the reds winning this one

  • Adsa

    Perese is back on the bench after being dropped from the bench last week. Thorn certainly chops and changes the bench a lot. Ready is also riding the pine this week after an early cameo against the Stormers.

  • Huw Tindall

    Well that was some game – where the hell did this Reds side go last week? They would have destroyed the Moondogs if they played like they did tonight.

Queensland Reds
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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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