Super Rugby 2013 Preview 8: The Reds

reds Back in 2011, the Reds truly deserved to take home the title, but then they stuttered their way through the 2012 season, only to be humiliated by the Sharks in the play-offs.

Injuries played a big part in their struggle last year – as it often does with Australian sides – and let’s face it, they are just too thinly spread to have real depth to cover for key players. Fortunately, at this stage only Will Genia will miss the start of the season after having had knee surgery, he is expected to return in Round 6.

In the meanwhile odds are that Ben Lucas, who really impressed during the Reds’ trial match against the Blues, will partner an almost back-to-form Quade Cooper, who had a mix of really good and really bad moments last season. Cooper will need to smooth out the wrinkles very quickly if the Reds have any hope of getting back the spark in their backline.

Correct me if I’m wrong (I couldn’t watch the trial match between the Reds and Blues), but the results steer me into thinking that it was a very much forward-dominated performance by the Reds – which I suppose is good news for them after the departure of Scott Higginbotham. They luckily have some depth to cover around the fringes and Adam Wallace-Harrison shone in the absence of James Horwill, whom all must be happy to welcome back as skipper, although he didn’t play in their first trial match.

The Blues managed to score five tries and Queensland’s defense looked a bit weak when the ball was spread to the opposition’s flyers out wide. Their goal kicking is another worrisome area, only converting three of their seven tries isn’t promising at all. Both of these aspects don’t bode well for them in this tough competition and the Reds will really need to work hard to straighten themselves out.

I suspect that the Reds will be able to stand their ground against the lower ranked teams; however, I don’t think they’ll be able to prevail when put face-to-face with the best of the best.

My prediction for the Reds is 8th place overall and second in the Australian conference, I doubt they’ll receive the same favours as last year and this time around, they will just miss the play-offs.

by Jackie Smit

6 thoughts on “Super Rugby 2013 Preview 8: The Reds

  1. Super Rugby and the Rabbo Pro 12 are the most interesting leagues imo. Super is better to watch, but the Rabbo has an interesting blend with teams from Ireland, the UK, and Italy. Hope Quade Cooper has a good season. I’d like to see him running around the park for England 2015.

  2. The Reds are going to have a touch time without Genia. Cooper is overrated and it is only his combination with Genia that creates any kind of danger. He made a silly mistake and the Brumbies scored under the posts. Ben Lucas struggled and with Harris not slotting the shots at goal, they’re not making life any easier for themselves.

  3. Result:
    Rebels (30) – Tries: Ged Robinson, Hugh Pyle, Richard Kingi. Conversions: James O’Connor (3/3). Penalties: O’Connor (3/3). Yellow Card: Scott Higginbotham

    Force (23) – Tries: Alfie Mafi (2), Richard Brown. Conversion: Kyle Godwin (1/3). Penalties: Godwin (2/3). Yellow Cards: Alby Mathewson, Chris Alcock.

    Brumbies (24) – Tries: Jesse Mogg (2). Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (0/1), Ian Prior (1/1). Penalties: Lealiifano (0/2), Nic White (2/3), Mogg (2/3).

    Reds (6) – Penalties: Mike Harris (2/5).

    Super Rugby Team of the Week – Round 1

    15. James O’Connor – Although it was difficult to look past Jesse Mogg’s try-double, the Rebels fullback looked the better all-round player and with a 100% kicking record, who wouldn’t want him in your team.

    14. Richard Kingi – Playing on the wing for the Rebels, the versatile busy body was all over the park and although he misses more hits than he makes, he is a strong runner and flamboyant finisher.

    13. Mitch Inman – Nothing much happened in the 13 jersey and the only thing that lifted the Rebels centre’s mediocre performance above that of the rest, was his ability to pilfer the ball a couple of times.

    12. Kyle Godwin – Much to the disappointment of many fantasy managers, Christian Lealiifano’s had a very bad day with the boot and although Godwin only had a 50% success rate and Lealiifano being the better defender, the Rebels midfielder kept to opposition quite busy.

    11. Alfie Mafi – Undoubtedly the shiniest star of Round 1. Not only did he clock the most running metres, besides O’Connor, but he broke through several tackles, and dotted down twice – even though his efforts were in vein and not enough to change the fate of the Force.

    10. Quade Cooper – Another area of mediocrity which forced me to choose the Reds flyhalf even though he had a scarcely above average game compared to his own high standards. He is not big on tackling though and my midfield now looks rather vulnerable. They’ll be dangerous on attack though and should just keep possession of the ball.

    9. Nic White – Will Genia is by far the best Australia has to offer in the halfback department and as he did not play, I had to go with the only other option on display. His useful boot saved Lealiifano from further embarrassment, helped the Brumbies secure their first win and therefore edged him ahead.

    8. Gareth Delve – The Rebels skipper was as rock solid as always. He carried the ball well, put the tackles in and led by example. Mention must go to Richard Brown for the immediate impact he made; in the 20 minutes he spent on the field he threatened the defence on a couple of occasions and scored a try.

    7. Liam Gill – Although David Pocock surely made his presence felt during his Brumby debut, the ever improving Reds flanker was as much of a nuisance, but carried the ball better and with more force.

    6. Angus Cottrell – This hardworking backrower has a habit of making the most of every opportunity he gets and yet again showed how he thrives on contact situations.

    5. Luke Jones – This young Rebel followed his breakout season up with a strong start to the 2013 season. His versatility makes him hard to replace and he didn’t put a foot wrong in the season’s first match.

    4. Hugh Pyle – His exceptional understanding of the line-out and formidable presence makes this blossoming second rower an asset for any team. He rarely misses a tackle and his strong ball carrying skills managed to get him across the chalk line once again.

    3. James Slipper – The Reds’ tighthead prop just managed to edge out Tatera Faulkner as he is a more concrete option on defence.

    2. Ged Robinson – It isn’t every day that you see Stephen Moore take the backseat, but even without taking into account his 5-pointer, the Rebels hooker made his presence felt right across the park.

    1. Greg Holmes – There was really nothing in this decision as none of the loosehead props did anything to write home about. Forced to choose between Greg and Pek Cowan, I opted to flip a coin.

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