Reds "fanging" for a bye ahead of Tahs clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Reds coach Nick Stiles says his team is "fanging" for a break as the Reds head into a bye week before an Australian Conference blockbuster against the Waratahs.

Queensland left plenty of points on the park through pushed last passes and struggled to keep up defensively late but otherwise put together arguably their best performance of the year in the 47-34 win against the Kings.

They looked to have lost their legs late, though, as they did last week against the Brumbies, and Stiles said the team was ready for a week off before launching into the second half of the season.

"We're stoked with the win to start with," Stiles said.

"But you've got to understand that we have gone eight games consecutive, travelled to Perth and back on a short turnaround, travelled to Africa, travelled to Argentina, come back and played some of the best sides in the comp.

Rob Simmons and the Reds will take four points into the bye. Photo: Getty Images"The boys are fanging for a bye, to be honest.

"You see how hard they are putting in at training and in the last 10 minutes there was probably a bit of relief that we were going to win a game but a bit of fatigue there for us.

"The bye week now couldn't come at a better time."

Stiles delivered a clear message to his team at half time after they spluttered their way to a 14-10 lead at the break.

"The issue at half time was a team issue that we needed to hold on to the ball in the carry," he said.

"We needed to stop forcing offloads - so we sat down as a group - 'Thorny' addressed the team around our ball security in the tackle and then I spoke to them about being disciplined and patient with ball in hand.

"Once we did that in the second half we scored some really nice tries."Quade Cooper controlled the show for the Reds today. Photo: Getty ImagesThose tries were sparked by the return of Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt, who make the Reds a completely different proposition in attack.

"I thought missing 'K' in particular from our side last week really hurt us," Stiles said.

"He's been playing really good football - you see the physicality he brings to us in line speed off set piece and you see how well he is returning the ball from kicks.

"The confidence he brings us oozes through the whole side.

"To bring Quade back is really good for the attack.

"The zippiness in his pass, the vision he's got, he can probe left and right, he goes with a cross-field kick and we go 80 metres to score, so that's what he can do."

Speaking after his 150th Super Rugby match, George Smith emphasised the importance of the team improving on their defensive work before they meet the Waratahs in a fortnight.

"We've just got to put a complete performance together, those tries in the last 20 minutes there weren't great," Smith said.

"I think we went into a bit of a defensive mode and we were missing too many first up tackles but overall we are very pleased with the win."