Reds focused on smart footy: Wright

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Liam Wright says the Reds are focused on playing a "smarter" brand of football as they bid to return to the glory days of 2011 - in style as well as substance.

Increased fitness levels across the squad have allowed the Reds to turn to ballwork earlier than in the first two years of Brad Thorn's tenure, a boon in a short pre-season.

The Reds kick off their Super Rugby campaign in a derby against the Brumbies on January 31 and already have a laser-like focus on making improvements that will help them back to the finals for the first time since 2013.

"I think we're playing a smarter brand of footy, which is what we focused on after the review at the end of last year," Wright said after a training session on the Gold Coast where the squad has been in camp this week.

"We lost a few tight games based on probably that lack of experience and lack of smarts to close out games.

"So we're really trying to play an expansive brand of footy, which is probably what a lot of fans remember from the really successful 2011 days.

"We really want to get back to that - playing our brand of footy and playing fast-paced, just using all the young guys we've got, all the great skill sets, so we really want to take advantage of that."

While Australia's World Cup players did not have to report back for training until next week, all five of the Reds representatives chose to start work early and have returned in great nick.

Wright, who earnt his own Test cap this season when he made his debut in the Bledisloe clash at Eden Park in August, said it was great having the Wallabies all back in camp.

"They bring in a world of experience and just having guys of that calibre around makes everyone jump to their level," he said.


"Sometimes we can fall down and they make everyone want to train to that standard and reach for that goal as well, so it's really great having them back pushing us towards a really good season."

The club's Wallabies will head off on their own Reds to Regions tour next week, visiting the Scenic Rim, Cairns and Port Douglas and Townsville, Charters Towers and the Burdekin.