Motivation three-fold for Reds ahead of Tahs clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

James Slipper and the Reds aren't short of motivation ahead of Saturday's clash with the Waratahs.

The motivation, in fact, is three-fold, according to their stand-in captain.

They are eager to bounce back from an "immature" loss to the Brumbies, hoping to snap up "double points" in an Australian conference derby and, of course, spurned on by their long standing rivalry with the Waratahs.

"I mark this game down at the start of the year and in any sport, NSW and Queensland is a great rivalry," Slipper said.

"It's no different in rugby union.Izaia Perese's return is a timely one. Photo: Getty Images"It's one of the longest fixtures in sport going around in Australia so there is a lot of history, a lot of tradition behind this game and I'm sure both teams are keen to get out there and perform well."

The return of Izaia Perese is a timely one but the Reds will have to beat the Tahs without two of their stars - Scott Higginbotham (calf) and Taniela Tupou (shoulder).

"It's disappointing but we have quite a bit of depth in the squad so the boys are really excited for this game - particularly against NSW," Slipper said.

"We've been pretty happy with how the tight five and the set piece is going.

"We felt like we probably didn't play our best rugby against the Brumbies last week but it gives us an opportunity to test ourselves again.

"If we can play a game we are proud of it will put us in good stead - we're up for the challenge."James Slipper and the Reds pack must stand up against the Tahs. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Reds' tight five is arguably the best in the country but Slipper said there was no discussion of national honours within camp.

All eyes are on a showdown with the Tahs.

"Individually it's about playing your best rugby for Queensland," Slipper said.

"That's what gives you an opportunity to play for your country.

"We haven't really spoken too much about further down the season.

"We're just concentrating on us at the Reds, we want to win rugby games and that's our sole focus at the moment.

"We've been a bit inconsistent this year but we have trained well, we've worked hard and we're up against it this weekend but it's setting up to be a good game."

The Reds face the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.