Rocky Elsom (76)
NOTED baiter Simon Poidevin says Reds rugby is finally out of ''rehab'' and ready to jolt the NSW Waratahs in Friday night's interstate showdown.
But the most unexpected of endorsements from one of the greatest flankers to play for NSW stopped short of predicting a Queensland upset at the Sydney Football Stadium.
''It's my view that to win Super 14 you have to attack, and NSW are basically risking a successful season with the conservative way they are playing,'' the 59-Test legend said.
Poidevin's snipe followed Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper taking his own shot at the ''simple, boring style'' the Waratahs had employed to be undefeated after three rounds.
Former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones took his swipe recently: ''The Waratahs have been a pragmatic team that seems intent on respectability rather than greatness.''
Poidevin pilloried the 2008 Reds as reminding him of the ''motley crew of the Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie'', so often were they submerged.
''The Reds were almost last going into the 2008 interstate game and still gave NSW a shock,'' Poidevin said.
''They are now attacking like they can beat anyone and the history of interstate rugby for 40 years is that Queensland will always lift monumentally in defence for these games.
''I'm a great admirer of coach Phil Mooney. It's refreshing to see Queensland playing such an expansive game after that decade of repression under (1990s coach) John Connolly. I hope the Waratahs take the hint.
''The Reds are out of rehab after years in the doldrums.''
New Waratahs coach Chris Hickey has been attacked in Sydney for his recent remarks that ''winning ugly'' was fine after a one-try, 11-7 decision over the Waikato Chiefs.
''I just can't accept that,'' Poidevin said. ''It does matter how you win when you are in a fight to the death with other footy codes in the most competitive market in the world.''
Talking up their willingness to attack is one thing, being able to earn chances to show it by matching the set-piece consistency of the Waratahs in scrums and lineouts is another altogether.
The Waratahs have stepped up to cover the loss of world-class forwards Rocky Elsom and Dan Vickerman with great character whereas Reds teams of the recent past have moaned and flopped when hit by the same drain of top stars.
Reds forwards coach Mark Bell is adamant the pack has the starch to give the elusive Cooper, Berrick Barnes and co. their chances to win it.
''With Hugh McMeniman back in our lineout, we'll definitely stand up there and we're making the tweaks we need to our scrum,'' Bell said.
McMeniman's 80-minute effort in the heat against the Cheetahs last weekend shook off any lay-off rust and he is eager to taste interstate success for the first time.