Waratahs preparing for 'steely' Reds

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs are expecting a Reds side with a bit more bite after a disappointing defeat to the Brumbies.

Queensland was in control early in Canberra, before fading away in the back end of the game, with coach Brad Thorn describing his side as ‘immature’ after the defeat.

Despite that result, Waratahs attack coach Chris Malone said the Reds will be a threat at the SCG this weekend.

“They probably came in with not a lot of expectation and on the back of what happened with them last year and he's put some steel in them, there's no question about that,” he said.

“I guess with the result that went against them against the Brumbies on Saturday night, that’s going to put even more steel into them.

“Playing against the sky blue jersey, that'll do it for them as well.

“We're really looking forward to it, it's going to be a huge night and hopefully we get a big crowd out there.”

Malone said they would have to brace for Queensland’s physicality, a trademark of the Thorn approach to rugby.

“If you watch the game carefully, it's not until after the 65th minute that the two teams really split,” he said.

“What we did see is a lot of big ball carries for the Reds.

“You did see them getting off the line hard and trying to put shots on.

“We're going to have to be really accurate with what we do, in terms of our attack. but I think also you saw some opportunities there for us so it's up to us to get out there now and go and work on that.”

Nick Phipps bagged a hat-trick for Sydney Uni. Photo: AJF PhotographyHalfback Nick Phipps looks in line for a return to the team, after a hat-trick performance in the Shute Shield, in his comeback from a calf injury, but his would appear to be the only change from the side that beat the Sunwolves 50-29 in Tokyo.

Backrower Jack Dempsey was originally eyeing off a return to the Waratahs’ side for the clash, after tearing his hamstring playing for the Wallabies against the Barbarians, but Malone said the 23-year-old wasn’t quite on track to play his first match since October.

“We're going to ensure that we make sure he's right so he can come back, so he can help in our push for the rest of the year but also help his own aspirations around playing for Australia,” he said.

Both sides will wear heritage jerseys for the clash at the SCG, one of the most-anticipated Australian derbies of the year.

The Waratahs host the Reds at the SCG on Saturday, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.