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Wallabies tourist Van Humphries won’t be expecting any favours this Super Rugby season with the Queensland Reds no longer a team flying under the radar.
There will be no surprise factor when the Reds kick off their season against the Force on February 20 but Humphries insists he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think it will be harder. I don’t think teams will underestimate us like they did last year. More teams will be doing analysis on us so we are going to have to take the next step up and continue to improve,” said 35-year old Humphries.
“But I feel really enthusiastic and like I have a lot to give, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on the field.”
Humphries had a major impact as the Reds’ lineout caller during their 2010 season before being called into the Wallabies squad for their end of season tour.
That success has breathed new life into the Moore-born talent although he understands none of it will count for anything when the Reds open their season against the Force.
“There are only 22 spots for that opening game against the Force and at the moment there are 30 or 32 guys going for those places. There are a lot of guys that are going to be pressing for positions,” he said.
Before then the entire Reds squad and select QAS Academy players have an opportunity to impress coaches on the training field and in Cairns and Darwin, where they play trial matches against the Crusaders and Brumbies respectively.
“Everyone is jumping out of their skin (to play). Ewen has actually had to tell us to tone things down at training as everyone just wants to get stuck in with a bit of contact.”
Tickets for the Cairns trial match are now on sale through Ticket Link.
Fans are encouraged to become members of the First XV – the push for 15,000 members – in what is arguably the most important year in Queensland Rugby history.
For those unable to attend home games the Reds are offering a $50 Forever Red membership, which entitles you to discount match tickets, merchandise, and priority ticket access to Reds' home finals and Wallabies Test matches, among other things.