James keen to slip one past Chiefs
Thu, 23 Jan 2014 10:15
We have such an exciting attacking team
Queensland Reds and Wallabies prop James Slipper is looking forward to the team’s first pre-season clash against the Chiefs in Toowoomba in three weeks.
Slipper said the Chiefs' forward pack would provide a great challenge for the Reds and that a strong start against them would bode well for the season.
"Since we came back a few weeks ago we’ve been straight on the scrum machine and scrumming against the each other," Slipper said.
"It’s a tough fight up front, everyone is vying for spots and we’re looking forward to the first trial game against the Chiefs, who will present a very tough challenge.
"They’ve won the last two championships, they build a good game around their set piece, and have an All Black front row.
"We played in Toowoomba last year against the Blues and the crowd that turned up that day was really excited, and for the players, there was a really good vibe about playing in front of them so we can’t wait to head back and play there again."
The 2014 season will be the first time Super Rugby will feature the new International Rugby Board (IRB) scrum laws, which have already been used to some extent in the 2013 ITM Cup and the Wallabies End of Year Tour.
Slipper is one of four Reds’ tight five forwards that have already experienced the new laws at Test level and said the change will benefit his team at Super Rugby level.
"Basically I think we’ve gone back into the old ways of scrummaging, the idea behind it is to keep the ball in play longer, quicken the set-piece, reduce the number of collapsed scrums and introduce more of a technical aspect to the scrum.
"As far as the engagement goes, the collision has been taken out so the scrum itself is safer and adds more of a running aspect to the game."
New Reds forwards coach Nick Stiles, who played 96 games for Queensland as a prop and 12 Tests for Australia, said the IRB’s new laws will complement the Reds playing style.
"What the IRB have done through these scrum laws is make the scrum more of a contest, the art of scrummaging has been brought back into the game and I think it’s a good move for the fans," Stiles said.
"In the past you’ve been able to launch yourselves in as a full pack of eight and whoever had the biggest collision won the scrum effectively, whereas now that hit has been taken out of the scrum and scrum collapses will reduce.
"This is a good thing because we want to see the ball in play, especially here at the Reds, we have such an exciting attacking team and to think we can have the ball in play even longer suits us well."
While the Reds’ Wallabies contingent returned to fulltime training two weeks ago, the rest of the team has been working hard since October 2013.
Slipper said he thought Stiles had added another layer of expertise to the Reds already experienced coaching team.
"With Stiles here the sessions have been a little longer, a little harder but at the end of the day we’re here to improve and we’re going a long way to doing that," Slipper said.
"There are plenty of spots up for grabs, we’ve got a couple of big second rowers coming back from the Wallabies, the size is there and everyone is really fit and strong at the moment so it’s been good at training, we’ve been giving it to each other and trying to iron out a few creases that we’ve probably developed over the last few years and Nick Stiles is helping us with that.
"Stiles has been great, he brings a real technical aspect to scrums and set-piece in general, and that’s something I think the Reds really needed", Slipper added.
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