Queensland Reds braced for Force war
March 30, 2014
Scrum-half Will Genia is expecting the Force to lift against the Reds © Getty Images
Queensland Reds are expecting Western Force "warfare" by admitting they're braced for their toughest Super Rugby battle of the season on Saturday night.
The abrasive Force travel to Brisbane looking to create franchise history with a maiden fourth straight win and Reds scrum-half Will Genia is under no illusions what awaits his team at their Suncorp Stadium fortress.
Queensland recorded their 29th win from their past 34 games at home with a much-needed 22-17 victory over the injury-hit, besieged Stormers. It was a gritty, grinding triumph which required the sort of guts and determination in close-quarters combat that Genia and skipper James Horwill believes is essential to topple the Force.
"They will be the toughest team we've played this year on the back of the fact they're playing good rugby and have had good results but they always tend to lift for this game," the Wallabies scrum-half said. "Traditionally because of the rivalry and the history they tend to get up for this game. They play grinding style of footy so we have to make sure we get our heads around that and be ready for that sort of warfare."
The two teams have a bitter history, borne out of the Force raiding Queensland's playing stocks before their 2006 competition debut. The Perth team also haven't forgotten that Genia had agreed to terms on a big deal in 2012 in what was set to be a stunning defection before an even more astounding backflip. At the time Richard Graham was the Force coach and Nick Stiles was his assistant. Both are with the Reds now, while Genia remains the influential vice-captain.
The Force have rarely given Queensland an easy game and took the honours at Suncorp last year when Alby Mathewson outpointed the hounded Genia for a 19-12 upset. They also held the 2011 champions to an 11-11 draw in the return clash in Perth. Force coach and ex-Queensland hooker Michael Foley will have the visitors' primed after a bye and will have star scrum-base duo Ben McCalman and Alby Mathewson back from light suspensions.
It may be a hostile environment in Brisbane next weekend, but Stormers captain Jean de Villiers expects his side's return to Cape Town may be worse ahead of their clash with New South Wales Waratahs. Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is under the gun after a fourth straight loss and former Springboks assistant coach Gert Smal appointed as a new director of rugby. De Villiers backed Coetzee and called for the Western Cape officials to take their enormous injury toll and competitiveness on the road into account.
"I just hope everything will be seen in perspective and taken into consideration," the Springbok centre said. "We have been unlucky with injury and it's not as though we've been playing terrible rugby."
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland