Preview: R13 Sunwolves vs Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Preview: R13 Sunwolves vs Reds

Preview: R13 Sunwolves vs Reds

The St George Queensland Reds travel to Tokyo for the first time to play the Sunwolves.  Both teams are coming off a bye and are desperate for a win.  Will the Sunwolves jag their first win of the season or will the Reds go back to back?

Whilst it may not have the appeal of a NZ derby this weekends match between the Reds and the Sunwolves is shaping to be a really intriguing contest.  The home team are yet to register a win this season and are languishing on the bottom of the ladder.  The Reds have been up and down and after a strong start to the season, have struggled to now be sitting in the middle of the Australian conference, two wins off the top.  With their win over the then competition leaders the Lions before the bye, they kept an ever tenuous grip on the Rebels and Waratahs and another win this week could potentially see them officially back in touch with the top of the conference.  It’s a strange old competition, Super Rugby.

Embed from Getty Images 

 Why should I bother?

Why should you bother?  Easy.  Because you love it.  Face it, if you’re reading this then chances are your affliction isn’t curable.  It may be tough to hear but it’s your truth.  Embrace it. I had a quick look at some stats (thanks Opta Sports) whilst writing this and based solely on them, I’m not sure either team can win.  I was surprised to learn that the Sunwolves are yet to beat an Australian team.  They are the only nation that they are yet to beat.  Less surprising is the fact that the Reds have lost 20 of their past 22 away matches.  The Sunwolves (2.6) are scoring more tries per game than the Reds (2.1) but are conceding nearly twice as many tries per game (SUN 6.2 / RED 3.9).  In the few victories for the Reds this season, discipline has played a big part.  Well, the ledger in this match is almost equal with the Sunwolves conceding the fewest penalties per game of the comp; the Reds are conceding the second fewest.

Key match ups

Filipo Daugunu vs Hosea Saumaki

One of the big positives for both the Reds and the Sunwolves would have to be the discovery of these two guys.  Daugunu for the Reds has been exceptional.  Excellent feet and an ability to shed tacklers and then burn defenders with sheer pace.  He’s not just a finisher, he’s started plenty of tries of his own too.  Saumaki is the leading try scorer for the Sunwolves.  He’s quick and powerful but has a brilliant offloading game.  If you don’t believe me, have a look at his performance against the Lions.

Hamish Stewart vs Semisi Masirewa

This one isn’t so much about the match-up.  I’ve gotta be honest, I’m just excited to see young Hamish Stewart starting for the second match in a row.  I was in two minds about what to do about Jono Lance being fit again.  Then i remembered that it wasn’t up to me when Thorn made it clear that when fit, Lance would start at 10.  Hamish playing fullback could prove to be a wonderful move.  Whilst Aidan’s left boot has been useful, I really think his down sides are outweighing his up sides at the moment.  He seems lazy and at times almost unwilling in defence and his option taking has been very poor.  Hamish gives us more starch in defence and can join the line as a second play maker.  His booming boot should also be an asset. Embed from Getty Images

 

Fearless Prediction

This was harder than I first thought it would be.  Don’t let their 0 and 9 record fool you, the Sunwolves are no easy beats.  They kept with the Hurricanes in Wellington for most of the match before 3 rapid fire tries sunk them. I really think though, it will come down to which Reds team turn up on the day.  The immense first half vs the Lions Reds or the woeful rabble that barely fired a shot against the Tahs Reds.  I’m tipping it will be the former and the Reds by 10.

Match Details

Sunwolves

1. Craig Millar
2. Shota Horie
3. Takuma Asahara
4. Wimpie van der Walt
5. Grant Hattingh
6. Michael Leitch
7. Ed Quirk (c)
8. Kazuki Himeno
9. Yutaka Nagare
10. Hayden Parker
11. Hosea Saumaki
12. Michael Little
13. Timothy Lafaele
14. Kenki Fukuoka
15. Semisi Masirewa

Reserves:
16. Yusuke Niwai
17. Shintaro Ishihara
18. Hencus van Wyk
19. Uwe Helu
20. Yoshitaka Tokunaga
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Yo Tamura
23. Jason Emery

Queensland Reds

1. James Slipper (c)
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Izack Rodda
5. Kane Douglas
6. Adam Korczyk
7. George Smith
8. Angus Scott-Young
9. Ben Lucas
10. Jono Lance
11. Jordan Petaia
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia
14. Filipo Daugunu
15. Hamish Stewart

Reserves:
16. Alex Mafi
17. Harry Hoopert
18. Sef Fa’agase
19. Harry Hockings
20. Liam Wright
21. Moses Sorovi
22. Duncan Paia-aua
23. Aidan Toua


Match Details

Date: Saturday, 12 May 2018

Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium – Tokyo

Kick-off: 1:05pm AEST

Referee: Egon Seconds

Assistant referees: Akihisa Aso and Tasuku Kawara

TMO: Minoru Fuji

  • 2bluesfan

    “Why should you bother? Easy. Because you love it. Face it, if you’re
    reading this then chances are your affliction isn’t curable. It may be
    tough to hear but it’s your truth. Embrace it. I had a quick look at
    some stats (thanks Opta Sports) whilst writing this and based solely on
    them, I’m not sure either team can win. ”

    Brilliant!

    • Ross

      Thanks 2Blues! Was it your most excellent Tahs preview I ripped off for this one? I saw the heading and thought, yep, I think Reds fans may needs convincing to watch also. :-)

      • 2bluesfan

        Mate, this part “I’m not sure either team can win” in particular is excellent. I’ll have to watch just to check if either side won. Of course a draw is almost certain now.

        • Ross

          Geez I’d take a draw now, no worries.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Rigtho Lads and Ladettes!
    I am actually looking forward to this one. Watch the Reds hopefully dispatch the Moondoggies, then tune in to watch the Tarts get worked like a two bit whore on pay Thursday!
    Reds by 12

  • Adrian

    Hmm…. just the sort of match for Sunwolves to break their duck.

    Sunwolves have lost their Verylongname #8, but Reds have lost Timu.

    Once again, little or no creativity in an Oz backline, though plenty of strike power once line is busted.

    Duagunu could be main attacking weapon, and main defender,… running down Sunwolves breakouts.

    Sunwolves just

    • John Tynan

      Lets hope Stewart spends more time in the line in attack and provides the second play maker that DPA was doing last year. CFS and Kerevi should be running lines and angles that either Lance or Stewart can pick and choose based on what they see opening up. It should look more like a league left/right centre combo than a traditional union inside/outside centre.

      • Adrian

        Agree, perhaps the only way to do it.

        I’m very disappointed that DPA isn’t there.

        Somehow though, I think Stewart will do a lot of booting the ball down the field,… which utilises only one of his talents

        • John Tynan

          For a territory based game, we aren’t executing it very well, or as you say, using all the skills available..

    • Mica

      Mate, where’s your incurable (and frankly myopic) Tahs positivity here for us Reds supporters?? :)

      • Adrian

        I just wish Australia (and Reds) had more players to choose from.

        I really think that Reds could be really good if Duncan P played at 12, Lance at 15, and Stewart at 10. Kerevi at 13.

        They would lose some defence, but create breaks via Duncan P, because he plays the ball at the line, not before it like QC, or not at all unless he has burst through like Kerevi.

        Looks to me like Folau is coming, so they’ll need someone to set him up

        • Mica

          Agreed that they should play Lance at 15 and Stewart at 10. We may see a bit of this anyway in spite of the numbers on their backs.
          I’m happy with Kerevi at 13 when attacking, but he’s not an OC defensively.
          Too many times I’ve seen him stranded in the 13 channel in defence and disconnected from the rest of the line.
          Maybe the Reds can find someone like Daniel Herbert to come and help him with defending at 13. Ben Tune would also be a good option as would someone like Stirling Mortlock.

        • Gareth

          He reminds me of Wendell sailor in defence, clueless when they are at pace.

    • Bernie Chan

      Baffling…so few ‘flair’ players getting much of a run in Oz sides….risk adverse coaching? Wonder when we lost the nous to play smart/clever rugby? We were never the biggest, strongest or fastest…but were able to compete by being smart/clever. Would Larkham get a run under the current set up…
      The Reds better win, cause I don’t like the Tahs’ chances.

      • Adrian

        Hard to know why, and League takes many creative players as juniors.

        I think short term gain has something to do with it too.

        At one stage last year, 3 of the 5 number 10s were overseas players.

        The year before, 3 of the 5 number 9s were overseas players.

        Re Larkham, I remember he started as a skinny tall not very creative half back (maybe 1 or 2 Brumby games), was then moved to be a running full-back, and occasionally wing.

        McQueen was coaching Australia (after coaching Brumbies) and needed to find a 5/8. Larkham, Burke and Latham were all potential Australian full-backs.

        Larkham was picked at 5/8, and McQueen criticized by many including (initially) Brumbies coach Eddie Jones.

        Larkham worked out well, as did Burke at full back, and Latham on the wing.

        McQueen had both nouse and guts

        • Bernie Chan

          Recall that bloke Wayne Bennett (talking about Darren Lockyer…?) saying you can have a team of athletes, but you need a “footballer” with vision for the game to make the team work. Our Reds is full of athletes, fit and tough etc etc…but only one clever player (George Smith) but he is one of the oldest players and always has his head stuck in the ruck contest. Nothing out in the backline…as you noted.

        • Adrian

          Excellent analysis Bernie

        • Bernie Chan

          Plagiarism…:) Apparently that bloke W.Bennett knows a bit about coaching…?

        • Adrian

          Exactly, Bennett always looking for solutions.
          League in the 80s/90s had Bennett scheming to work out ways to score more points than his opponents, and Warren Ryan scheming to work out ways to prevent his opposition scoring more points than his team.

          Another League master coach is Craig Bellamy

          McQueen the most knowledgeable and innovative (and successful) Rugby Union coach

        • McWarren

          I’d put Rodda down as clever. He may be young but I think he’s smart. Same for Perese.

        • Adsa

          Agree with you on Perese and he can’t even get a bench spot under Thorn.

      • idiot savant

        I can see Duncan P and Perese leaving the Christians at the end of this year. Particularly if Folau joins. The attacking strategy will change from ‘give it to Kerevi’ to ‘give it to Izzy’. There will be no need for skilful attacking players. Duncan P would be terrific at either the Brums or the Rebs.

        • Bernie Chan

          The QC situation surprised many…stating that the Reds would begin their campaign without an experienced flyhalf defied sense (Lance and Lucas were very late signings…) but now the DPA issue only adds to the intrigue. What has the lad done to warrant such a fall from grace? Is it because he is a mate of QCs…? He is the only ‘ball player’ in the squad but can’t get a start…I really hope that that religion/faith is not a factor but their is no shortage of “chat” that seems to allude to religion/faith as a factor. Jeez…keep religion out of politics and sport. BTW…has Hamish Stewart even played fullback at schoolboys level…?

        • idiot savant

          Dunno. But he has played flanker if that helps!

          He can catch, kick, and tackle which is handy at 15. We will find out if he knows where to position himself.

        • McWarren

          Not sure he has played 15, pretty sure he has never opened a bible or happy clapped, like 95% of the squad. This happy clap shit is a red herring.

        • st saens

          Which of the various claps is the happy one? None of them much fun (from what I hear).
          Anyway…a pox on happy clapping.

      • John Tynan

        Good observation. Not many first or second year coaches are going to be comfortable coaching someone without structure. As observed elsewhere, the inexperience in our coaching ranks leads to an over reliance on structured play, an inability to coach heads up play.

      • McWarren

        Bernie we had one of the most creative players on the planet for the last 8 years playing in Red. The guy took a bagging from every corner of the Australian rugby community. Fans on here (not you) who are now decrying the lack of creativity were front and centre of the ‘he’s not reliable enough, he can’t tackle, he has brain farts’ campaign. Apart from Link he was coached by morons unable to harness his strengths and improve his deficiencies.

        • st saens

          Sad, but true. I will forever believe that Oz rugby threw away a once in a lifetime opportunity when we dumped Quade…bit like ditching Dawn Fraser for borrowing a flag in Tokyo. Brilliant talent doesn’t come along every day. I blame Dingo Deans and the anti Link plotters for this. Link seemed to be the only coach who could get the goods out of him.

        • Bernie Chan

          Agree 100%. With 2 creative (Sanchez n QC say…) players, you can stack the other 13 with athletes. Coaches too risk adverse, fearing losing rather than daring to win…? Reds couldn’t do worse with QC, and they might score more tries…

        • Bernie Chan

          Agree 100%. With 2 creative (Sanchez n QC say…) players, you can stack the other 13 with athletes. Coaches too risk adverse, fearing losing rather than daring to win…? Reds couldn’t do worse with QC, and they might score more tries…

    • idiot savant

      Yep. Shinto Buddhists 28, Christian Fundamentalists 25.

  • Mica

    Great write up Rossco. Some really good insights here.
    How good did Saumaki look in that video. It will be a big defensive test not only for Daugunu, but also for Samu and CFS as he seems to run a fair bit through the centre channels.

    Really looking for CFS to convince me of the recent hype too. He’s been pretty poor in the past and there’s been a fair bit of love for him in the GAGR comments recently.

    I gotta be honest and say that I think that he’s only been marginally better than in previous seasons. A couple of good cameos at times doesn’t cut it for me. I’d rather see him do all the little things well and put in 100% for the game rather than the fade in fade out that I see.

    Too harsh? Over to you fellow GAGRs

    • Bernie Chan

      Not harsh…fair comment about CFS. Many are waiting for him to produce “the goods” on a regular basis.

    • Looks like Disqus went on a fake spam binge and block a lot of posts from regulars. Thanks for pointing it out Mica.

      • Mica

        No worries Sully. Thanks for the response!

  • juswal

    Contrast that Saumaki video with clips of Israel Folau strolling into contact. Sigh.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Mate spot on. Reds have got this

  • McWarren

    This strikes me as the perfect game to start Sorovi. It also strikes me as the perfect game to get away with Lucas’ slow pass. Ah the conundrums of being a coach!

    • Bernie Chan

      Big fan of Ben Lucas, still am…but he is past his prime and probably better suited to a bench role (as he covers 9/10/12/15) whereas Sorovi is the up-and-coming #9…fast pass (perhaps needs to work on consistency..) and running game. I think the Moondogs game is indeed the perfect game for him as they play a bit looser than the SA or NZ sides….

  • McWarren

    On a side note, how good was the rugby on Friday night prime time in Australia?

    • Bernie Chan

      Had just got back Friday morning from Asia…went looking for a game and only found the ‘other’ games…Another strategic planning masterpiece?

Queensland Reds
@RosscoWright

I love the Reds and I love the second row. That probably tells you all you need to know about me. I can often be found engaged in pointless arguments in the GaGR forums as 'Scoey".

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