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Reds 'got to perform better' against Lions
March 18, 2014

type: image_fullwidth object_id: 218909 alt_id: 3 caption: Sibusiso Sithole beats Chris Feauai-Sautia -->

Queensland Reds are preparing for a young pride of Lions to pounce in South Africa's Highveld a week after losing more than 60kg of combined body weight during the 35-20 defeat by the Sharks in the humid conditions of Durban.

Reds coach Richard Graham said the team had travelled early to Johannesburg to get as much preparation in altitude as possible before the game against the revitalised Lions.

The Lions have won three of their five matches, defeating the Blues in Johannesburg last weekend, and Graham says they are nothing like the franchise that was dumped from the competition last year. Graham highlighted five-eighth Marnitz Boshoff as he discussed the new breed of Lions, whom, he said, bore no resemblance to the perennial wooden spoon contenders that existed before the franchise's one-year hiatus from Super Rugby in 2013.

"The 2014 Lions side is unrecognisable to the side from 2012," Graham said. "They've made a raft of changes in their squad having being relegated last year. [They] have come back with a young group, full of energy and playing a good brand of rugby.

"You've got a young group that don't bear the scars of their previous history. You've got a 10 at the moment, whilst he's only four games into his Super Rugby career, he's full of confidence and kicking goals from anywhere, from 60 metres out."

Eddie Quirk echoed his coach's sentiments, the Reds flanker sating the team had to make the most of their limited opportunities to prepare.

"The altitude's probably the main thing training-wise that you have to adapt to, and it's just a different place," Quirk said.

"The majority of the South African teams are big and physical. That's exactly what we expected from the Sharks, and they gave us that. We've got to take the same attributes into this week against the Lions.

"Nothing really changes except we've probably got to perform better."

© AAP
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