Qld Reds vs Natal Sharks Super 14 2009 Preview
Queensland Reds

Reds v Sharks preview

Reds v Sharks preview

Reds are in for a mauling

Reds are in for a mauling

The end is nigh for the Reds and this prophecy has been heralded with the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Scrummaging Apocalypse – John Smit, the aptly named ‘Beast’ Mtawaria, Deon Castens and Jannie du Plessis. If you thought the Reds scrum was dished up last week, well wait until this four prop rotation gets hold of the wet-behind-the-ears Reds’props this week.

The Reds have lost Spuddie Holmes and line-out leader, Van Humphries, to injury and Dayna Edwards and Charlie Fetoai have carried the can for the Reds defeat, and have been rissoled. Coach Phil Mooney has re-arranged the deckchairs  by bringing in clean-skin’s Ben Daley and Jack Kennedy (bench) to the front row as well as under-done new recruit, Ezra Taylor, to the bench. Blair Connor and Rodney Davies (bench), are the new faces in the backline, with Connor getting his first Reds’ start on the wing and Diggers reverting back to no.13.

The Reds showed again last week they have not come to terms with their wasteful ways and are unable to complete plays the way that coaching staff would like them to. Dropped ball and bad passes abound and after four weeks of the competition, there has been precocious little improvement in this area from week one.

While these mistakes have largely gone unpunished by opposition teams, this week, I think they will pay dearly should the same amount of ball be turned over. The Reds must learn how to keep possession of the ball once they have made a decent break, all too often mistakes have been made with the try-line in sight.

The reason for this is the Reds aversion to the break-down, it is something they avoid at all costs, instead playing a higher risk ‘off-load’ game, which is yet to yield results. It is an area the Reds must address, if they don’t, they cannot hope to be anything better than low-mid table spoilers.

Defensively, Quade will have plenty of work to do as the Sharks will attack his channel with plenty of tight running from Ryan Kankowski, sniping from Rory Kockott and crash balling from Fancios Steyn. This is a feature of the Sharks game, and their super fast flankers Keegan Daniel and Jaques Botes, are the spark that ignites their all Springbok outside backs with quick ball from the ensuing rucks.

The Sharks are yet to put a big score on a team and they seem to clock off for periods in games that allow the opposition to sneak back into the game. This might suit the Reds who benefited from similar lapses from the Bulls and Stormers and were able to mount a late run home.

The secret will be not to let the Sharks get out to a big lead. If the Reds can show the character they have thus far, they might just be able to stay close enough to take advantage, should the Sharks not play the game out.

It’s a forlorn hope, but it’s a hope.

Cote says – Armageddon is upon us…...Sharks by 15+

Queensland Reds

Mr Consistently Average

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