Reds v Chiefs preview

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 19.40 (09.40 GMT)

The Reds must be getting desperate. Well they should be. They haven’t won a game since their fortuitous (25-16) win over the Hurricanes in Round One.

Not surprising then to hear them talk this week of ditching the forward orientated game they have stuck to this season.

Hooker Stephen Moore, coming into the side for the injured Sean Hardman (hand surgery), suggested they will look to play a more expansive game in an attempt to move off the bottom of the standings.

“We’re looking to shift the ball around a fair bit and really attack the Chiefs,” Moore said.

“The guys are excited about the way we are going to play this weekend.

“We’ve got a couple a things up our sleeve where we think we can score tries and hopefully we can put that out on the park.”

It is not a bad ploy. The pick-‘n-drive that saw them surprise the Hurricanes in the opening week, have now become to easy to counter for teams. And with no back-up (or alternative) mode of attack they have been outscored by 20 tries to eight in seven games this season.

In fact their average losing margin has been 12 points (15-27) and it is clear the Reds need to start using the skills of the many young guns in their backline.

But before that can happen they need to ensure the forwards win some quality ball.

It is also a tactic that may backfire badly.

The Chiefs’ reconditioned All Blacks, scrum-half Byron Kelleher and wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, are in the starting XV and both very dangerous in an unstructured environment.

The Reds’ best approach at home this season has been a conservative game plan in which strong defence dominated. They have only conceded three tries in three matches at home.

So maybe they should stick to what they do best.

Prediction: The Reds have won their last three matches against the Chiefs in Brisbane, but that is a run that is likely to end. The Chiefs’ pack of forwards simply look too powerful and they also have too much class in the backs. The Chiefs by 15 points or more.

Teams:

Reds: 15 Andrew Walker, 14 Brando Va’aulu, 13 Ben Tune, 12 Lloyd Johansson, 11 Peter Hynes, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic Berry, 8 John Roe (c), 7 David Croft, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 James Horwill, 4 Ed O’Donoghue, 3 Tama Tuirirangi, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Herman Hunt
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Ernest Skelton, 18 Cameron Treloar, 19 Tom McVerry, 20 Will Genia, 21 Charlie Fetoai, 22 Henari Veratau

Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Roy Kinikinilau, 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 12 Tasesa Lavea, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Byron Kelleher, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Sione Lauaki, 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Kristian Ormsby, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Craig West.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Nathan White, 18 Andrew van der Heidjen, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Niva Ta’auso, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Referee: Willie Roos (South Africa)
Touch judges: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa), Julian Pritchard (Australia)
Television match official: Bradley Wahl (Australia)
Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia), Paul Ramsay (New Zealand)

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