Round 1: Reds vs Sharks Preview - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Round 1: Reds vs Sharks Preview

Round 1: Reds vs Sharks Preview

Preseason – check. Global Rugby 10’s – check. Trials – check…… Like the kid who’s been lying awake watching each minute tick by since a bit before 4am on Christmas day, I’m excited. Round 1 of the 2017 Super Rugby season is upon us. It’s the Reds vs the Sharks.

As a Reds fan and a Rugby fan in general, there’s a lot to be excited about this weekend. Super Rugby is back on, Thursday night footy and mouth-watering matches like Highlanders vs Chiefs to name but one. But by a long shot, seeing what I hope will be the Reds of old, run out on Lang Park again is something I’ve been wanting to see for a very long time. At full time though, will we have witnessed a phoenix like, rising from the ashes? Or will it be back to the all too familiar feeling of unease? Read on and find out.

This match has all the makings of an absolute belter. From their one trial, the Reds showed the beginnings of a transformation. A great mix of youth and experience. Threats across the park. A seemingly very united and confident unit that have all bought into the mission. If they put it together in the regular season they should test any side they face.
The Sharks, whilst perhaps not having recruited quite as well as the Reds, they also have a new coach and have picked up a few exciting young guys in Kobus van Wyk and Jeremy Ward. Their trial form has been impressive, comfortably accounting for the Cheetahs and belting and understrength Bulls team.
Both teams are promising to play Rugby and both will have a similar game plan. Who will do it better? A lot could come down to a number of key matchups across the park.

Cooper vs Lambie

There are a lot of parallels between these two teams and the respective fly halves is definitely one of them. Quade Cooper has come home from his Frech sojourn and looks happy comfortable and ready to go. Pat Lambie, hasn’t played much Rugby at all in the last few years but is fit and ready and from reports within the team, absolutely buzzing with excitement. Both will be backing their forwards to lay a solid foundation to give them the front foot ball they crave. If they get it, both can unlock the opposition defences but equally will kick effectively when needed.

Kerevi vs Esterhuizen

The bullocking Reds outside centre will have a big target on him this season but the question will be, will it make any difference? Young Andre Esterhuizen, will be backing himself to nullify the threat that is Samu Kerevi as well as giving the Reds midfield some concerns of their own. There’s something about the prospect of two genuinely big and skilful centres matching up that always gets my juices flowing and I expect this showdown will be interesting.

George Smith vs The Sharks

I’ve got to say, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is watching one of the greatest opensides of all time, doing his thing for the Reds. Yes he’s getting on in age but I’m tipping that won’t slow him down much. His strength has always been absolute technical proficiency and from what I’ve seen of him in Japan and France, he’s still got it. If he can dominate the breakdown anywhere near close to how he used to then the Reds will be looking good.

George Smith Queensland Reds


How this match might pan out is anyone’s guess. It could be high tempo and equally high scoring, running Rugby. It is round 1 though and combining the early season ‘rust’ with what will likely be a soapy ball from a hot and humid evening, the match could be very frustrating to watch.
Regardless, good things come to those who wait apparently. It feels like I’ve been waiting for an eternity for this moment. I’m going to tip good things then – Reds by 10.

St.George QLD Reds

1. James Slipper (C)
2. Stephen Moore
3. Sam Talakai
4. Rob Simmons
5. Kane Douglas
6. Adam Korczyk
7. George Smith (QLD debut)
8. Scott Higginbotham
9. Nick Frisby
10. Quade Cooper
11. Eto Nabuli
12. Duncan Paia’aua
13. Samu Kerevi
14. Chris Kuridrani
15. Karmichael Hunt

16. Andrew Ready
17. Markus Vanzati (QLD/SR debut)
18. Sef Fa’agase
19. Izack Rodda (QLD/SR debut)
20. Hendrik Tui
21. James Tuttle
22. Jake McIntyre
23. Izaia Perese (QLD/SR debut)


1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Franco Marais
3. Coenie Oosthuizen
4. Etienne Oosthuizen
5. Ruan Botha
6. Philip van der Walt
7. Jean- Luc du Pree
8. Tera Mtembu
9. Cobus Reinach
10. Patrick Lambie (C)
11. Lwazi Mvovo
12. Andre Esterhuizen
13. Lukhanyo Am
14. Kobus van Wyk
15. Curwin Bosch

16. Chiliboy Ralepelle
17. Thomas du Toit
18. Lourens Adriaanse
19. Stephan Lewies
20. Jacques Vermeulen
21. Michael Claassens
22. Jeremy Ward
23. Clement Poitrenaud

Venue:  Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off:  7:00pm AEST


Nick Briant
Assistant Referees
Paul Williams and Nic Berry
Damien Mitchelmore

  • Brisneyland Local

    Scoey, great write up and I cant wait to be sitting in Reds Fortress tonight, downing a few amber ales, and hopefully seeing the start of something really positive. Because I dont know if my children can bare driving home from the ground listening to their father crying the whole way home anymore! ;-)

    • Simon

      The last few years of driving home from Reds games must have given them an important life lesson that the world isn’t beautiful and life isn’t fair.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep, that along with their Grandma dieing and the dog too. My children being good Reds supporters are well versed in pain!

    • Ross

      Thanks BL! Win lose or draw, I really think you’ll be witnessing the start of something positive. There’s something about this unit that has me genuinely excited. That weird disjointed and feckless vibe that has surrounded the Reds the last couple of years is gone. We are RED!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I hear you, I am seriously trying to keep a balanced view point, and trying to reign in my exuberance. But will be at the Reds Members bar tonight, hat on, scarf on, warpaint on the kiddies and beer in hand!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Really looking forward to this one. I think the Sharks have been less affected by the abortion that SARU is than some of the other teams and will do well this year. Great to see a REDS team where there is some excitement and less focus on the management than the team. I’m pretty sure you’ll go home happy as I think this may just be Reds year in the Aussie conference.

      • Brisneyland Local

        KRL just got home and let me say that was bloody close! I think we were extremely lucky!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yes you were. Those stupid yellow cards didn’t help and I don’t think the backline is flowing very well. But a win is a win and they did show some good moves at times. Improvement needed for sure and I think the Sharks are the best of the SAFA teams so maybe not too bad. 7 out of 10

  • Simon

    It’s going to be a VERY long day at work today… Lucky there are Friday Tim Tams.

    • Brisneyland Local

      I am five coffees down and it is only 9 pm. Arghhhhh 7 pm cant come quick enough!

  • John Tynan

    Loosies will be the battle I reckon. In the past few years we’ve struggled (among a LOT of other areas it has to be said) with how Saffers play the breakdown. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Shorks start throwing numbers of big bodies at the breakdown.
    But I am 110% channeling all versions of Big Kev AND I AM EXCITED!!!!

    • Ross

      The packs look very evenly matched for mine. I think our two giraffes though are in for a big season and the competition for Wallaby locking spots will drive results within the Reds camp. Simmons and Douglas are both very good at shifting bodies so if our backrow can stand up, I think we can win the breakdown.

  • Brendan Hume

    Looking forward to this match. Plenty of internationals in both teams, so it should be a good challenge without a lot of excuses available.
    Paia’aua looks good, great skills, good footwork and physical and should be a good partner for Kerevi.
    Reds really lacked the go forward last year which put the backs under heaps of pressure. While the scrum will be good, the Reds will need the tight 5 to work hard on their carries and getting quick recycle and not leave all the work for Samu again.

  • stanley

    Great write-up. If I was excited before, I’m salivating now

    • Ross

      You always know just what to say Stanley. #frothing

Queensland Reds

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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