Thorn preaches positivity after Reds dealt reality check

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Reds coach Brad Thorn is not disheartened by his side's showing in their Super Rugby opener, preaching positivity after his team fought on after being reduced to 14 men for 70 minutes.

The Reds were well beaten by an impressive, rejuvenated Rebels but the night was marred by Scott Higginbotham's red card for a shoulder charge that made contact with Matt Philip's head.

Higginbotham will face a sanction in the coming days and neither the Reds captain or coach wanted to add too much fuel to the fire.

"It's a physical game... it's a tricky one," Thorn said.

"They're trying their best and with 70 minutes to go, she's a big call.

"It's tightened up more and more every year. 

"Go down to Marathon Stadium in the mid 90s and it was game on. 

"They're very conscious about where it has got to now - protecting players - and it's a fine line in a contact sport.

"We want to play physical so it's a tough one."

Outside of the red card, Thorn was relatively positive about the 45-19 loss."I took a lot from it," he said.

"I loved the fight of the guys, I loved how they kept competing.

"There are still a lot of young guys out there and it was a lot to take on for a young group.

"Unfortunately a few things happened tonight that weren't great but sometimes that affords you the opportunity to test your character, show what you're about and I think there were some good signs in there as well."

Once they learn Higginbotham's fate attention will turn to the Brumbies, who will present an even greater challenge for Thorn's side.

"I was pleased with what they showed me about who they are but we have got to get smarter and continue to build our game," Thorn said.

"The Brumbies are good at their set piece, at the breakdown and they've been together for a long time.

"They're used to playing with each other, they've got their game so we have just got to work hard in all areas."

The Reds take on the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Friday March 2, kicking off at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS. Buy tickets here.