Forget the form book, says Reds prop
May 4, 2000
Queensland prop Glenn Panoho today insisted rugby fans should "throw the form guide out the window" when they assess Saturday night's crunch Super 12 clash between the Reds and the ACT Brumbies.
The Reds go into the match as underdogs, fighting for survival against the competition leaders after an indifferent trip to South Africa.
The Reds at least overcame a hurdle today when Panoho (calf) and five-eighth Shane Drahm (ankle) were cleared for the Bruce Stadium match. They still face a genuine challenge to beat the Brumbies on their own turf but Panoho said interstate clashes always brought surprises.
He pinpointed last month's clash between the Brumbies and struggling New South Wales, who pulled off a surprise win.
"That's the sort of thing that happens in interstate games because there's other things that go into it," Panoho said. "There's a real sense of pride and it's always last-man-standing stuff.
"It becomes a bit personal when you're playing guys who are going for the same Test spot or blokes you've played alongside before."
Panoho and World Cup hooker Michael Foley will pack down against the Brumbies' international front-rowers Jeremy Paul and Patricio Noriega in an intriguing scrum battle.
The Brumbies' forwards have laid the platform for their team's charge to the top of the table just two rounds before the semi-finals. Queensland can't afford to lose another match after last Saturday's frustrating loss to the Cats in Bloemfontein plunged them to sixth.
But Panoho warned other teams to watch out for the Reds if they won their last two matches and qualified for the semi-finals.
"I'm not a betting man but I would fancy our chances if we got through these next two, simply because of the experience in our team," he said. "If anything, we're big game players and we would love to be in the finals. It would be different from last year when we finished on top because we wouldn't have the same pressure on us."
Panoho was hopeful his calf strain would fully mend before Saturday night but Reds medical officials were satisfied today. Drahm's inclusion was just as vital, ensuring Wallabies Tim Horan and Daniel Herbert would maintain their centre pairing against the dangerous Brumbies backs. The Reds have confirmed their team, with flanker Mark Murray replacing injured David Wilson and Ricky Nalatu moving on to the wing for injured Damian Smith.
Queensland: Chris Latham, Rick Nalatu, Daniel Herbert, Tim Horan, Nathan Williams, Shane Drahm, Sam Cordingley, Toutai Kefu, Mark Murray, Matt Cockbain, Mark Connors, John Eales, Fletcher Dyson, Michael Foley, Glenn Panoho. Reserves: Steve Kefu, Richard Graham, Jacob Rauluni, Scott Fava, Nathan Sharpe, Sean Hardman, Nic Stiles.
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