Reds eye Lions scalp

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:24

REACTION: The Reds are determined to put their campaign back on track on their two-match tour, starting with the Lions in Johannesburg this week.

The Reds, who started  with an impressive win against the Sharks, have lost their last two matches - going down 19-26 to the Western Force in Perth and a heartbreaking last-minute 20-22 loss to the Crusaders in Brisbane.

They face the Lions - who lost to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires this past weekend - on Saturday and the travel to Argentina to tackle the Jaguares.

Reds coach Nick Stiles felt the loss to the Crusaders showed his team is no-longer the easy beats they were the past few seasons.

Having won just once in their last 10 matches in South Africa - a 18-17 triumph over the Cheetahs in 2015 - Stiles feel his team is in a good position to put their touring blues behind them.

"Last [Saturday] night was tough for everyone," he said of their last-minute loss to the Crusaders.

"However, there was enough in our performance to be excited about what's to come from this group.

"We're not happy with being thereabouts.  
 
"The next two weeks are an important time in the development of this side.

"We've faced some adversity in the first few weeks of the competition, but we've also shown some growth.

"It's a great opportunity to get away together as a group and really challenge each other to get the best out of ourselves.
 
"The Reds have struggled on this tour in recent years, but there is a genuine hunger and desire within this group to return home with something to show for our hard work."
 
The Reds named a 27-man squad for their two-week tour of South Africa and Argentina.

The squad departs from Brisbane on Monday for the tour.
 
The squad features the 23 players from the weekend's match against the Crusaders, along with prop Kirwan Sanday, lock Lukhan Tui, Number 8 Leroy Houston and centre Henry Taefu.
 
The uncapped Sanday, who trained with the Reds throughout pre-season, has been brought into the tour squad as an injury replacement for Sef Fa'agase, who was a late withdrawal from this past Saturday's match due to a calf injury.
 
Lukhan Tui, Houston and Taefu are yet to get a run in the Reds' match-day 23 this season and will be looking at the tour as an opportunity to push their claims for selection.
 
This coming Saturday's match against the Lions will be the Reds' first since 2015, which they lost 17-18 at Suncorp Stadium.

The two sides have met 19 times in the history of Super Rugby.

The Reds have beaten the Lions 13 times and had one draw.
 
The Reds' trip to Argentina will be the side's first since Queensland Rugby Union took a development tour there in 2005.

It will also be the first time the Reds have played the Jaguares, who entered the competition in 2015.

Reds squad:
 
Forwards:
Kirwan Sanday, James Slipper (captain), Sam Talakai, Taniela Tupou, Markus Vanzati, Stephen Moore, Andrew Ready, Kane Douglas, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Scott Higginbotham, Leroy Houston, Adam Korczyk, George Smith, Hendrik Tui.

Backs: Nick Frisby, James Tuttle, Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia'aua, Henry Taefu, Karmichael Hunt, Chris Kuridrani, Eto Nabuli, Izaia Perese.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 30 June 2017
Sharks v Bulls 17h00 Kings Park, Durban
Sat, 01 July 2017
Jaguares v Kings 23h05 Buenos Aires
New Zealand v B&I Lions 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Stormers 13h05 Bloemfontein
Lions v Sunwolves 15h15 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19