Reds would love to upset Sharks

2009-03-12 00:00

THE Reds, ravaged by injury, have something of a baptism of fire tomorrow against a Sharks’ line-up with a strong international flavour.

Only three members of the Sharks pack and one from the backline have yet to represent the Springboks, while the Reds have been forced to include a number of rookies in their side for tomorrow’s Super 14 clash in Brisbane, having made seven changes to last week’s starting lineup.

It’s tough not to back the Sharks.

One doesn’t want to appear over-confident, but does Ben Daley, at 20-years’ old with a cumulative total of just 10 minutes of Super 14 game time really worry Bok captain John Smit, his opposite number in this match?

The engine room is where it all happens and for a Sharks’ and Springbok front row with a total of 166 Super 14 caps between them, the suggestion is that the Reds could be in for a torrid time.

Only hooker Sean Hardman — with over 100 caps — has experience, while the props on either side of him, Daley with one Super cap, and Laurie Weeks in his rookie season, could have their work cut out for them. Weeks is 22-years-old, wing Blair Connor is 20 and reserves Rodney Davies (19) and Jack Kennedy (21) show the youth of this Reds team.

Some of the Sharks’ backs are also in their early 20s, but given their experience at the highest level, including a victorious Rugby World Cup campaign, it’s the lack of experience among the Reds’ youth that could be their undoing.

Despite the apparent lopsided nature of the two line-ups, Sharks’ coach John Plumtree is only too aware of the need to maintain the same kind of intensity, the mental as well as physical application and fortitude that has earned them their 100% success rate so far in this tournament to prevent an upset.

“What we are seeing is that the challenges we are facing are really intense because the opposition know that we are a strong all-round team. So their efforts go up and ours must stay up there as well,” Plumtree said.

How does the Sharks’ team approach a Reds team giving their all with the youngsters trying to prove a point?

“It is a different challenge, but we’re not reading too much into that. We’re just trying to stay focused on what we want to achieve and up our standards in the areas we’ve identified.”

Despite the odds stacked against them, Reds coach Phil Mooney believes his team have the ability to cause what would be a massive upset by beating the Sharks.

“One thing I think we’ve seen over the past couple of years is when we’ve given young guys an opportunity, they’ve really lifted themselves and there’s no bigger opportunity than against an undefeated Sharks team.”

Kick-off: 11.05 am (SA time) tomorrow.

Reds team: Mark McLinden, Blair Connor, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes (capt), Peter Hynes, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas; Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Scott Higginbotham, Hugh McMeniman, Adam Byrnes, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley.

Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Jack Kennedy, Ezra Taylor, Poutasi Luafutu, Will Genia, Anthony Faingaa, Rod Davies.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.