Make or break for Reds ahead of road trip

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

It's just three rounds into the Super Rugby season but it's already make or break time for the Queensland Reds.

Having fallen to a 1-2 record after Saturday's shattering loss to the Crusaders, what is arguably the toughest road trip in Super Rugby awaits.

The team departed for Johannesburg this morning, where they will face 2016 finalists the Lions, before setting sail for Argentina to take on a Jaguares team that is the early Super Rugby surprise packet.

The all-conquering Hurricanes await Queensland upon their return.

Should they fail to win at least one of their those three matches, the race to the top of the Australian Conference will start to look unassailable.George Smith and the Reds face a tough three weeks. Photo: Getty Images"I don’t think there’s a tougher trip in Super Rugby than this one," Stephen Moore said.

"It’s a big challenge, we are going to have to step up and we are looking forward to doing that,

"It’s a good time for our squad to go away together, spend some time together and work on some things that we want to do."

Moore's coach, Nick Stiles, wholeheartedly agreed.

"We have made some good strides in that Crusaders game but the reality is we want to win football games so the ability now to get away as a group and spend a lot of time together will be good in making us better," he said.

"I’m relatively happy with where we are but obviously we are going to need some wins over the next three weeks.Nick Stiles was not disheartened by the Reds' performance against the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images"You look at the signings we made and you think yes, we have a very good roster and a very deep squad with the improvement in our young guys but the reality is you’ve still got to become a team.

"You’ve still got to get those combinations working and flowing nicely and that takes time and it takes games."

The Lions were upset by the Jaguares at the weekend but remain the most exciting team in either African Conference.

The Elton Jantjies led attack throws the ball around at will and have scored the second most tries in Super Rugby through three rounds with 15.

"They’re obviously beaten finalists last year and a side that plays a really attacking style of football," Stiles said.

"In the old days you’d go over to South Africa, especially at altitude, and expect a massive kicking game but the Lions challenge the norm," - Nick Stiles

"They play a very expansive style of football where they want to run everything and use really good skills to do that so it will be a really good challenge defensively for us.

"And how we manage the game will be important as well."

"Clearly we can be better with our management of those situations and playing the ball at the right end of the field," Moore said.

"We knew that 20 points wasn’t going to be enough so we needed to keep attacking - we got a bit defensive there towards the end and that’s something we will learn from that.

"We need to make sure we learn from that so we have a good plan next time."