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Reds out to derail Brumbies' entire campaign
February 15, 2013
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie offers some instruction, Reds v Blues, Super Rugby semi-final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 2, 2011
Ewen McKenzie continues to fire darts at the Brumbies. © Getty Images
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Queensland can deflate the Brumbies' entire Super Rugby season with victory at Canberra Stadium on Saturday, Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie says.

The Brumbies are confident prized recruit David Pocock can catapult them to the next level in 2013, and coach Jake White has been bullish about the potential of his team.

White and McKenzie have been engaged in a slanging match all week, and the mind games only intensified on game eve.

McKenzie says the Brumbies have set themselves up for a big fall by spending the entire pre-season boasting about their first-class preparation. And he said the Brumbies might not be able to bounce back if the Reds rained on their much-hyped opening night.

"That's a very good question actually because everything you've read, every second day there was a story about their preparation and how good it's been and how long they've been at it," McKenzie said on Friday.

"So they've set themselves up for all or nothing. We quite like that scenario. If we can win tomorrow night it's a good question [if the Brumbies can respond] ... probably a better question to ask them."

Ewen McKenzie delayed naming his team until late Friday, much to the annoyance of South African counterpart White.

But Springboks IRB Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White is confident the naming his team early in the week is a sure sign the Brumbies are settled and ready to fire.

White steered his underdogs within a whisker of the 2012 Super Rugby play-offs, only to be pipped at the post in the Australian Conference by Queensland Reds.

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With Wallabies flanker Pocock added to the mix, White believes his men are a complete package in the making - and he is happy to accept the favouritism tag for Saturday. White compared Pocock's influence to some of the game's all-time greats.

"You talk about Jonah Lomu, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Schalk Burger, they're players who can win games on their own," White said. "You've got to put David Pocock in that same frame. He won the quarter-final (World Cup 2011) against South Africa on his own, and showed how worthy he is. That's how highly I see him. All players who play with him and against him know what he's worth. He's going to add massive amounts of value to us."

Clyde Rathbone, in his first Super Rugby match since 2009, is the other Brumbies player to watch. McKenzie denied Rathbone would be a weakness, saying, if anything, his Test experience would be a benefit. And he said the absence of Reds stars James Horwill and Will Genia could not be used as an excuse, stressing his players certainly did not feel like underdogs.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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