Heading in to Round 5 of Super Rugby Pacific, only the Brumbies and the Reds remain undefeated. They face off against each other this Friday in Canberra to see which team remains undefeated for the 2022 season. The matchup between Tom Banks and Jordan Petaia at fullback will be interesting ahead of Wallaby selection. Petaia played a great game there for the Reds in his first chance to run on with the 15 jersey. Both in attack and defence he imposed himself as a real contender for the Wallaby role there.
An injury ravaged Reds held out Fijian Drua at the weekend, ironically, it was a Fijian in Seru Uru that saved the Reds from an embarrassing result. Up four tries to nil with 15 minutes to go it looked like the Reds were heading for a bonus point victory until the visitors scored three unanswered tries in quick succession. With less than 10 minutes remaining on the clock the scores were locked at 28-all before Uru reached over from a maul to score a five-pointer taking the score to 33-28 to the Reds. That is not where the drama ended as Uru stole a lineout off the Fijians on the Queensland line at the fulltime mark to deny them drawing level or even winning.
Coach Brad Thorn said, “For our team, a game like that can be a challenge because there’s space and there’s opportunities but you’ve almost got to rein it in a little bit.
“Keep your patience, don’t overplay – that’s probably how I would assess that.”
Uru’s (pictured above) standout performance has made Thorn’s job a little bit harder this week with the expected return of captain Liam Wright in the position Uru was playing. It’s really a good headache to have knowing that the Reds have depth and that the guys will really put in for each other when their chance comes. That depth will be really tested on Friday when they come up against the Brumbies that are also in red hot form.
The Queensland Reds begin their campaign against the Melbourne Rebels at their fortress, Suncorp Stadium, on February 19th. Winners of Super Rugby AU last season they will be looking to extend this form into the expanded inaugural Super Rugby Pacific competition. Due to ongoing restrictions with Covid 19 they will play all the Australian domestic matches, including newcomers Fijian Drua, in the first half of the draw with the Trans-Tasman matches in the second half. Similar to last year the New Zealand matches, including newcomers Moana Pasifika, will be at the back end and it’s here where the Queensland Reds want to improve on their solitary win against our Kiwi brothers.
Preseason training at Ballymore has been hot and humid over the summer which will have the boys rearing to go. They have two trial matches against the Western Force and NSW Waratahs, both of which will now be played in Queensland. Firstly, they will play a closed trial against the Western Force at Ballymore that will be live-streamed to Reds’ email subscribers on February 5th. A week later, on February 12th, the Roma Echidnas will host Queensland verse New South Wales as the centrepiece of the second annual Santos Festival of Rugby.
Due to his breakout year with the Wallabies last year, 23-year-old Tate McDermott (below), will assume co-captain duties with Liam Wright (above). Reds coach Brad Thorn said: “They both embody what it means to be a ‘Reds Man’ -they’re humble and hard-working who uphold the standards of the maroon jersey.”
McDermott said: “It is a tremendous honour to be announced as a co-captain of the Queensland Reds alongside Liam Wright.
“To be etched into the fabric of Queensland Rugby, in company with many former great captains of the game, is something my family and I will forever treasure. Upon reflection of my initial chat with Thorny, our job now turns to unleashing the untapped potential within our side.”