* required fields
The St.George Queensland Reds expect the atmosphere from a huge Suncorp Stadium crowd to assist in their push for the FxPro Super Rugby Finals when they take on interstate rivals the NSW Waratahs on Saturday night.
The Reds will be boosted by their largest crowd of the year for their blockbuster regular-season finale where a victory is crucial to the team’s finals ambitions.
A win for the Reds would apply pressure to a number of teams still in wildcard playoff contention and would force the Crusaders, Bulls and Sharks to win their final regular-season encounters to hold off the fast-finishing Queenslanders.
Meanwhile, a maximum point haul against the Waratahs would further enhance the Reds claims and force the Bulls and Sharks to score four tries and a bonus point against the Lions and Cheetahs respectively, while it would also open to door to winning the Australian Conference should the Brumbies slip-up against the Blues in Canberra.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said producing their best 80 minutes of Rugby would be critical.
“First and foremost, we need to win the match to remain in the hunt for the finals and that’s the attitude we will take into the match,” McKenzie said.
“It’s now about playing our best Rugby of the season and hopefully, through building pressure on the scoreboard, we can walk away with the desired result.
“It’s about good defence and finding the right balance between producing smart attacking Rugby without playing with reckless abandonment. We’ll work through that this week at training and use the experience we’ve built up in this squad to ensure we carry out our gameplan on Saturday night.”
There is plenty at stake for the Queenslanders on Saturday as it’s also an opportunity to defend possession of the prestigious Templeton Cup while prop Ben Daley is in line to play his milestone 50th game for Queensland.
The Reds gained control of the Cup in 2011 with a defiant 19-15 success at Suncorp Stadium and defended it in round one this year when the Reds broke a nine-year losing drought in Sydney to topple the Waratahs 25-21 at ANZ Stadium.
The Reds have won 10 of their overall 18 Super Rugby encounters against their southern rivals and McKenzie is hoping home ground advantage will again give his team the edge.
“Our fans are the benchmark in terms of their loyalty and passion and you can see that with the crowds we’ve been attracting this season,” he said.
“All seven of our previous home games in 2012 have broken the 30,000-plus attendance barrier and the Waratahs this week will shatter the mark of all those games.
“It’s an exciting time for us and I’d encourage everyone to make their way down to Suncorp Stadium this week for what will hopefully be a special evening to celebrate.”
Ensure you don’t miss out on Saturday night’s clash by securing your seat through Ticketek - http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=REDS2112.
Reds Playoff Scenario Number One
Victory over the Waratahs would put the Reds on 57 competition points and they would qualify for the finals if any of these results fall Queensland’s way:
- Sharks (54) lose to Cheetahs by any amount
- Bulls (54) lose to Lions by any amount
- Crusaders (56) lose to Force by any amount
*If the Hurricanes (53) record a bonus-point victory over the Chiefs, the Reds would require two of the above scenarios to occur in order to qualify for the finals.
Reds Playoff Scenario Number Two
Victory over the Waratahs with a bonus-point would put the Reds on 58 competition points and they would qualify for the finals if any of these results fall Queensland’s way:
- Sharks (54) fail to record a maximum point haul (victory + four-try bonus point) over Cheetahs
- Bulls (54) fail to record a maximum point haul (victory + four-try bonus point) over Lions
- Crusaders (56) lose to Force by any amount or draw
- Brumbies (58) lose to Blues without a bonus-point (Reds would win Australian Conference and host a Qualifying Final)
Please note: The above scenarios are based on the Queensland Reds beating the Waratahs. Numerous other possibilities still exist should the Reds lose with a bonus point(s).
18 JUNE 2013
17 JUNE 2013