Reds still believe in Plan A

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:27
Large richard graham reds team

The Reds go into their bye week with the firm belief that Plan A will get them into the Super Rugby play-offs.

The Reds go into their bye week with the firm belief that Plan A will get them into the Super Rugby play-offs.

Reds coach Richard Graham - who is hoping to get a number of frontline players back from injury when they return to action against the Hurricanes on April 26 - said the next block of matches will be vital to his team's cause.

Graham confirmed that prop Ben Daley - who has been sidelined since the Round Five loss to the Sharks in South Africa with a knee injury - is up and running and should be available to play against the Hurricanes.

He added that wing Dom Shipperley (hip) and flyhalf  Mike Harris (Achilles) could also both be fit to return to action after this week's bye.

The coach said the bye this week is about "refreshing" the players mentally and physically.

However, at the back-end of the week they will start to focus on the Hurricanes, when they will work on refining their faltering gameplan.

The Reds, who are currently 12th on the Super Rugby standings, have lost four of their last five matches - going down to the Sharks (20-35 in their first match on tour in South Africa), the Lions (20-23), beating the Stormers (22-17 in their first game back in Brisbane), then slipping to a (29-32) loss to the Western Force and suffering another heartbreaking (20-23) loss to the Brumbies last Friday.

"I feel Plan A is not far from working," Graham said, adding: "We had a few three-point losses and there's no need to throw out Plan A and bring in Plan B.

"All that does is unsettle the group."

He said the bye has come at the right time.

"Any time you have a loss the playing group wants to get out there and redeem themselves," Graham said.

"At the same time we have now gone eight weeks and we travelled to South Africa - four of our first five [games] were away.

"I think it is a good time to have a bye to physically and mentally refresh before we go into another stint of games.

"The next block of four games is important, no doubt about that - we have three Kiwi teams and the Rebels before another bye," the Reds coach said of the encounters with the Hurricanes (in Wellington on April 26), Blues (Auckland, May 2), Crusaders (Brisbane, May 11) and Rebels (Brisbane, May 17).

Daley said he is keen to make a contribution, after sitting on the sidelines for a month.

In the time Daley has been sidelined the Reds' campaign has stagnated.

Despite that poor run, Daley says the Reds can still make the play-offs and he's hoping this weekend's bye will allow the entire group to prepare for a make-or-break push over the last stretch of the season.

"I hate missing games, any player hates missing game," Daley said.

"I had to watch the boys have some really tight losses, some tough defeats. It is really disappointing to be on the sideline and you can't help them."

He confirmed that he will be back for the game against the Hurricanes next week.

"It is obviously disappointing, but we are not far away," Daley said, adding: "There is a little bit of promise there.

"We still have eight games to go, four of them at home and we have every chance to make the finals [play-offs]."

He said the Reds players are "hurting" just as much as the fans are hurting at the moment.

"We need to make amends for that and it starts against the Hurricanes next weekend."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 30 September 2016
Golden Lions v Sharks 15h00 Johannesburg
EP Kings v Pumas 16h00 Nelspruit
Western Province v Boland 17h10 Cape Town
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 18h35 Sportsground
Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9