Reds won't be underestimating Sunwolves: Thorn

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

There are several similarities between the Reds and Sunwolves in the eyes of Brad Thorn.

While the Reds have already equalled their season win total (4) from last year with seven rounds to play and the Sunwolves, in contrast, are yet to register a win, Thorn draws a line between the two sides through Queensland's last opponent, the Lions.

The Reds stunned the Super Rugby world with a thrilling win over the South African Conference leaders in their last start but the Sunwolves nearly pulled off an upset for the ages when they travelled to Johannesburg in round five, falling 40-38.

That loss typified what the Japanese outfit are capable of, according to Thorn.

"To give you an example of the respect we have for the team - they went to Johannesburg and almost beat the Lions - who have two (straight) years of grand finals," Thorn said.

"At our home ground we were lucky to beat the Lions - it was hectic - so there is no underestimation of the Sunwolves.Brad Thorn and the Reds won't be underestimating the Sunwolves. Photo: Walmsley"They've got very good coaches, good players and they've been close in quite a lot of games.

"They'll be competing hard along with us tomorrow."

When asked what qualities Thorn was looking for in his young Reds side, the rookie coach pointed to the perseverance which led to the win over the Lions.

"Perseverance is number one," he said.

"We'd had a four game losing streak but you just have to persevere, you have to work hard and you have to stay positive and continue to seek to improve your game.

"Those wins - they can turn - you get some wins, the team gets confidence and you can get some results.

"I can understand where the Sunwolves are at and at the Reds we are equally trying to work hard, to try keep improving and see if we can get some wins as well."

Thorn's stand in captain James Slipper said the squad was being driven by an enthusiastic young core as his side seek their fifth win of the season.

"It's been a good year for us in terms of blooding new players, young players," Slipper said.

"The average age of our squad is probably 20, 21, 22, somewhere around there - then we have a few old blokes holding the fort down up the top there.

"The enthusiasm is driven by the lack of experience - they're always keen to get out there and that's really refreshing as a player to see.

"It's a good thing to take the field with them every week and help them grow."

The Reds take on the Sunwolves on Saturday afternoon at 1pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.