Reds ready for cyclone of their own

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Queensland has already been hit by one cyclone this week and the Reds will face another when the Hurricanes come to town on Saturday.

Treacherous conditions brought the Canes undone against the Chiefs in round three but their other performances have been fire-breathing, power-packed displays of rugby the way it should be played.

It will take a remarkable form reversal by the 1-4 Queenslanders to knock off the reigning champs and Nick Stiles was fully aware of that when he spoke to media today.

"They're using basic skills exceptionally well, stepping up at key moments and executing them," Stiles said.

"Any other side in the competition is trying to emulate that and (trying to) get your team playing a similar style with an execution of skills.The Hurricanes have smashed three of their four opponents this season. Photo: Getty Images"You look at them set up off set piece, that backline and you can just see them set up and scanning and looking for witnesses and they’ve got the ability to read any potential weakness and take advantage of it."

Stiles has made a handful of changes to his starting XV to try and combat the Canes in what is a statement game for the Reds.

If they feebly fold in front of their home crowd, the 1-5 record will start to heap the pressure on all involved at Ballymore.

But should they stand up and put the kind of shift in that they did against the Crusaders, an upset could be on the cards.

Stiles will hope Adam Korczyk leads that charge, as he has been named ahead alongside George Smith and Scott Higginbotham in the back row ahead of Hendrik Tui.Izaia Perese has been left out of the starting XV. Photo: Getty Images"The high work rate is going to be really important early in the game," Stiles said.

"You can’t hide the fact that coming back from Argentina and Africa is draining but I just think the energy that Adam (Korczyk) can bring with his work rate in particular is going to be important.

"If we win the game it’s going to be the influence the bench has in the second half."

Izaia Perese can feel hard done by in his removal from the starting XV, though Stiles did not seem displeased with his output in his two starts.

"I just think Chris Kuridrani did really well in his first couple games and managing that whole workload through the squad, it’s hard for a young player to be up every week," he said.James Tuttle has kept his spot alongside Jake McIntyre in the halves. Photo: Walmsley"Putting Izaia on the bench this week will give him a chance to get over the travel in coming back and then when he comes on, at whatever stage that is, his high energy and ball carrying will be important."

Stiles was also very complimentary of Hamish Stewart, a promising young flyhalf that several wise heads at Ballymore have big wraps on.

"Hamish has got a skill set as a 10 with Quade out suspended that is important," he said.

"He’s got a good passing game, he’s a tough rooster because he used to be a forward, which I am pretty happy about but most importantly his kicking game is exceptional.

"I like to think he’s a player of the future for us and the ability to bring him in now and be better balanced on the bench with a 10 there is important."