Preview: Round 6 - Reds vs Stormers - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Preview: Round 6 – Reds vs Stormers

Preview: Round 6 – Reds vs Stormers

The Reds may be just ahead of them on the overall ladder but having completed their Australasian Tour and playing 3 of the 5 New Zealand teams already, the Stormers won’t be too concerned with their position on the log.  Make no mistake, this trip to Cape Town will be the Reds toughest test yet.  Who will come out on top?

The Queenslanders travelled to Sao Paulo, no wait, London…. erm,…. Johannesburg?  No?  Cape Town!  Actually all of the above.  In a diabolical week of travel the Reds finally landed in Cape Town on Tuesday, a day later than planned to begin preparations for this weekend’s match against the Stormers.

Adrian Strauss strains to break a tackle

Form

After a round 2 thumping at the hands of the Rebels, the Queensland Reds have improved each week, winning the next 3 matches on the trot, the most recent being a very impressive win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.  Their set piece is proving to be a weapon and the backs are starting to do more with the clean front foot ball they are getting.

The Stormers have notched up 2 wins from 5 matches.  A first up win at home against the Jaguares, then three losses in a row on their Australasian tour against the Waratahs, Crusaders and Hurricanes before jetting home and scoring a win against the Blues.  The win/loss ratio can be ignored to a degree this week, the Stormers will be confident and looking to register another win at their home ground fortress.

What The Coaches Said

Brad Thorn (Reds Head Coach):  He hasn’t said a whole heap but on the win in Argentina, Thorn said, ““I think the pack was brilliant,” Thorn said. “To come here to ­Argentina, where they love their scrums, love their red meat, to come here and do the business against them was special.”  “One of the things they have turned around [since last year] were our ­defensive lineouts.”  As usual  though with Brad Thorn, actions speak louder than words.  He’s maintained his position that each start is 100% earned by making his captain, in Scott Higginbotham, fight for his starting spot back from the bench.

Paul Treu (Stormers Assistant Coach): “They’re coming off a couple of wins, they’ve been winning overseas on tour as well. We always say our focus is on ourselves, but they’re a well-coached team, they’re structured in what they do.  I think what’s important for us is that we get the basics right and that we keep building on what we’ve started to build on. Hopefully there’s a repeat of what we did against the Blues. We will have to be at our best to make sure we win another home game this weekend.”

Key Match-ups

EDIT:  Neither team had been announced at the time I was writing this so I had to speculate as to who might be playing where.  When Chris Sautia was moved to the wing, it was a happy bonus that JJ Engelbrecht followed him.  Unfortunately for me though Kitshoff has been relegated to the bench so his match up with Tupou may not happen.

Chris Feauai-Sautia in his 50th game

Chris Feauai-Sautia in his 50th game

Chris Feauai-Sautia v JJ Engelbrecht: One of the many Reds that have found themselves in a rich vein of form this season, Chris Feauai-Sautia is returning to his damaging best.  After starting the season on the wing, he has moved in one position and is relishing getting more touches at outside centre.  His likely opposite number has been immense for the Stormers.  Last week against the Blues, JJ racked up 2 clean breaks, 4 defenders beaten and 9 runs for 126m.  On D though, against the Jaguares, Feauai-Sautia made 10 tackles missing none and winning 2 turnovers.  Engelbrecht made 5 tackles and missed 2.

Brumbies v Stormers_0165_2014_03_22_11210

The ‘veteran’ Steven Kitshoff

Taniela Tupou v Steven Kitshoff:  While the Reds scrum (86%) has been having praise heaped on it from all corners, the Stormer’s scrum (94%) has been quietly getting on with the job. The battle between these two young props this weekend is going to be epic.  Tupou is only 21 but has come on in leaps and bounds this season.  His scrummaging has been almost as impressive as his running game which is saying something.  Kitshoff is only 26 but has seemingly been around forever.  He will give Tupou one of his sternest tests to date this season.  I can’t wait to see who comes out on top!

How will it play out?

The Reds have been building their game this season on gritty defence, field position and straight out effort.  They will be travel weary from a huge 2 weeks on the road and for this reason, this week won’t be any different.  The Reds (92.3%) boast one of the best lineouts in the comp and will look to use it to exploit the Stormers lineout (76.2%) with some deft kicking.  They will back their defence and try and play as much of the match in the Stormers half as possible.  The Stormers on the other hand top the competition for clean breaks and carries and are second for run metres so the Reds won’t want to give them any ball in space.  They can’t rely on making nearly 150 tackles without missing any two weeks in a row.

Looking at the for and against for both teams, the Stormers have been scoring plenty of points (avg 27/game) but have been conceding even more (30/game).  The Reds focus at this stage clearly isn’t on attack but they’ve still been good enough to consistently score around 19 points per match.  If you take out the first up loss to the Rebels, they are only conceding about 10 points per match since.  If they can restrict the Stormers scoring and take their chances when they come they will be a big chance.

It’s setting up for an intriguing battle, so set your alarm and strap yourself in for a big one!

Teams

QUEENSLAND REDS

1. James Slipper (C) – Bond University (100th Queensland/SR cap)
2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
4. Izack Rodda – Easts
5. Kane Douglas – Norths
6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
7. Adam Korczyk – University of Queensland
8. Caleb Timu – Souths
9. Ben Lucas – Sunnybank
10. Jono Lance – University of Queensland
11. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
13. Samu Kerevi – Souths
14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests
15. Aidan Toua – Easts

Reserves:

16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
17. JP Smith – GPS
18. Sef Fa’agase – University of Queensland
19. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
20. Scott Higginbotham – Wests
21. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
22. Hamish Stewart – Bond University
23. Eto Nabuli – GPS

STORMERS

15 Craig Barry,
14 JJ Engelbrecht,
13 EW Viljoen,
12 Damian De Allende,
11 Raymond Rhule,
10 Damian Willemse,
9 Dewaldt Duvenage,
8 Nizaam Carr,
7 Cobus Wiese,
6 Siya Kolisi (captain),
5 Pieter-Steph du Toit,
4 Jan de Klerk,
3 Wilco Louw,
2 Ramone Samuels,
1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Reserves:

16 Dean Muir,
17 Steven Kitshoff,
18 Carlu Sadie,
19 Chris van Zyl,
20 Kobus van Dyk,
21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe,
22 Justin Phillips,
23 George Whitehead

Fearless Prediction

Head or the heart?  Head or the heart? …..  I’m really looking forward to this match.  As a Reds fan it’s huge.  We’ve won one game on tour so losing this one, whilst disappointing, wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Scraping out a win though, would be massive.  The only other time we’ve won 2 from 2 on our South African tour in Super Rugby was in 2011.  We definitely have a chance here, the Stormers will be on high alert.

On the other hand,  the Stormers are at home, they have an extremely effective attack and will be looking to play plenty of Rugby against us.  The Reds will be feeling the effects of their big defensive effort against the Jaguares and also the travel of the last two weeks.  A sensible and astute tipper would tip the Stormers to get home reasonably comfortably.

I’m not either of those things: Reds by 5.

Match details

Date: Sunday 25 March 2018
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
Kick-off: 1:15 am (AEST) (6:40pm Sat 24 March – local time)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistants: Egon Seconds & Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Christie du Preez

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nicely written mate, if a tad optimistic. I love the way the Reds are playing this year but I’m not sure they’ll have enough in their tank to get through after that horrendous travel. How Thorn manages the replacement will be key to this as well as shutting the Stormers down so they start to panic and take chances. I think the Reds can do it but I’m saying the Stormers by 5 as I think the travel will bite too much in the end

    • Ross

      Thanks mate. Yep it’s optimistic alright. Can’t argue with your assessment at all. I honestly think it will be a bridge too far for us but I so want to believe we can win it. Our game at the moment is the perfect game against how the Stormers are playing. The question is as you say, how much gas is in the tank.

      • Christopher

        They are young…. plus, Brad thorn.

    • Jason

      IF the Reds can manage to control the game with their tactical kicking; looking at the squad it appears to be the plan (Lucas, Lance, Paia’aua – all good tactical kickers), the Reds have one of the best lineouts in the comp (attacking or defending), they have 5 legitimate jumping options (Rodda, Douglas, Scott-Young, Korczyk, Timu) and Korczyk in my option is the best disrupter in Australia.

      Working the lineout will give them the added dual advantage of starving the Stormers of ball (and they have done poorly without it), and slowing down the game (always a plus at the end of a grueling tour).

      I think if the Reds win it (and I tipped against them this week) it’ll be a grind by 8 to 15, but if the Stormers win it they’ll run away with it 15+

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Jason you are 100% correct. A couple of “ifs” in there but absolutely possible

        • Jason

          And did they do the things that the IF was predicated on… no. And so they lost. :P

  • 1. James Slipper (C) – Bond University (100th Queensland/SR cap)
    2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
    3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
    4. Izack Rodda – Easts
    5. Kane Douglas – Norths
    6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
    7. Adam Korczyk – University of Queensland
    8. Caleb Timu – Souths
    9. Ben Lucas – Sunnybank
    10. Jono Lance – University of Queensland
    11. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
    12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
    13. Samu Kerevi – Souths
    14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests
    15. Aidan Toua – Easts

    16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
    17. JP Smith – GPS
    18. Sef Fa’agase – University of Queensland
    19. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
    20. Scott Higginbotham – Wests
    21. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
    22. Hamish Stewart – Bond University
    23. Eto Nabuli – GPS

    • Ross

      Got some editing to do now Sully! I had CFS and JJ pegged at 13 but happily they will still match up on the wing! Kitshoff on the bench though has stuffed me. Damn you Robbie Fleck!

  • 15 Craig Barry,
    14 JJ Engelbrecht,
    13 EW Viljoen,
    12 Damian De Allende,
    11 Raymond Rhule,
    10 Damian Willemse,
    9 Dewaldt Duvenage,
    8 Nizaam Carr,
    7 Cobus Wiese,
    6 Siya Kolisi (captain),
    5 Pieter-Steph du Toit,
    4 Jan de Klerk,
    3 Wilco Louw,
    2 Ramone Samuels,
    1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

    Substitutes:
    16 Dean Muir,
    17 Steven Kitshoff,
    18 Carlu Sadie,
    19 Chris van Zyl,
    20 Kobus van Dyk,
    21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe,
    22 Justin Phillips,
    23 George Whitehead

  • Not a bad side but does anyone know why Tuttle has not been named? I thought Liam Wright has been a top performer recently and he’s not named either. Duncan Paia’aua is back in; anyone know what he did to be left out originally and how things are different now? Ready was back last week, not this week… Is this a part of a rotation or am I missing something? Eto Nabuli on the bench? Hmmm… I am not so much of a fan of his and while it is IMO a step forward not naming him run on, what are the benefits of having him on the bench? impact, wheels late in the match but is there not other options with more diversity? Great to see HIggers back. Great depth at 2 this year as well. I am loving the current back 3. I have always waited for Timu to be another league convert, but isnt he bloody great to watch?!

    • Huw Tindall

      Good questions on Tuttle and Wright. Not even in thr squad. Maybe some niggles? Tuttle’s kicking has been on point but I guess Lance is pretty handy too.

    • Ross

      I don’t know the answers to these questions but I’d say it would be part squad rotation, part depth building, part picking players to suit different game plans and part rewarding effort both on field and in training. In Brad we trust.

    • nmpcart

      I suspect the Nabuli choice is simply a lack of outside backs on tour so they have to have him in the squad but not in the run on side. I am with you in that I would prefer him not to be there but until Perese returns we are light on outside backs available. I think Duncan back in the side is partly to do with kicking options. I’d also like to see Ready get more game time but Thorn seems to be rotating a few of them around.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Great write up Rosco! Really looking forward to this match, a real ‘litmus’ test for the baby Reds. With Higgers back on the bench to provide some impact, this side will only get stronger with Tui and G. Smith due to come back in shortly.
    What is impressing me is their ticker, their fitness, and an ever increasing discipline. NOt sure if it will be enough to overcome the Stormers at home. But hey I am hanging it out there!
    Reds by 2

    • Ross

      That’s the spirit! Chuck common sense out the window. Blind optimism is all we need here! Go you Reds!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah something like that. There just seems to be something about the Reds this. I dont think I have ever seen them defend the way they are now. They seem to thrive on the hard stuff, which is no surprise with BT as coach.

    • McWarren

      Tell me BL what bottle Grange are you drinking this weekend to watch the game? I’ve gone local with an Aventine Reserve Cab Sav from the granite belt. I love the games in SA when I don’t have to be up early.

      • Brisneyland Local

        McW I dont drink Grange, but do drink many Barossa drops. Grange is over priced and there better reds for significantly less than a Grange! This weekend will likely be a Langmeils. Probably a 2012 Valley Floor Shiraz. A lovely drop indeed. That Aventine is not a bad drop either!

        • McWarren

          Enjoy it mate. Have a good weekend.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You too. Go the Reds!

        • Bernie Chan

          Gents…try a Nero D’avola. A Sicilian grape but very suitable to Oz conditions…bloody good value drinking…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thanks for the tip BC will check it out!

        • McWarren

          Thanks Bernie I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    • Hoss

      If the Reds win here and i reckon they are a fair chance, it will really set up their season from a confidence / belief point of view. A torturous itinerary – bad enough without hiccups, some big physical packs to confront in the Frangentinians and the Dutch Dirt Farmers – this could be a nice little fillip for Thornies Tweenies to achieve big things in 18, all of a sudden the little engines who could might just start believing anything is possible and nothing succeeds like momentum, desire & belief. Go hard boys

      • Brisneyland Local

        You are spot on. Even a very close loss after the week that they have had will still be a confidence booster.

    • Bernie Chan

      Thought you were speaking of Hendrik Tui…then recalled our Lukhan Tui has been sitting in the ‘naughty corner’…! Happy to see Ben Lucas in the #9…wasn’t happy when the QRU let him go, players that can cover 9/10/12/15 aren’t too common. Hope CFS keeps progressing…been waiting for him to have a ‘break out season’ and earn a Wallabies’ jersey.

  • McWarren

    As a Reds fan and terrible punter I’m tipping the Stormers by 15.

  • McWarren

    Okay I’ll be the unpopular sage of sense here. If the Stormers drop as much pull as the jags the Reds will win. If they don’t, which is the probable scenario then I think we’ll lose, by 15.

    I love the work of the Reds in defence but if the Stormers hold the ball they have the ability to score points, lots of points. Can our scramble defence keep up the intensity for 80 minutes? I dont know. The elephant in the room, like Ross alluded too, is the Stormers are better than the Rebs, Brumbies, Bulls and Jags.

    I have refused to get excited about the Reds this year for fear of being let down again, like the mate who always pulls out of a night out at the last minute. If the Reds beat a Stormers side playing well at Newlands, then I will raise the optimism level from low to overly cautius.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Lose the fear buddy and embrace the possibilities. Life is about what can happen

      • McWarren

        KRL I can assure you I enjoy the games and the wins and I’ll give credit where it is due but I refuse to get carried away. What can happen? Hmmmm

  • Gipetto

    Nabuli can’t go to Europe soon enough for me. Duncan Paywaive has a few penalty/YC inducing moves; I hope he behaves himself. Like the Bulls last night, the Reds don’t have any set piece moves that result in tries. Daugunu and Tupou seem to be the X-factor playmakers

    • Bernie Chan

      Ditto for Douglas…he is off to Europe as well. Backline reserves a concern…

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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