Planet Rugby

Preview: Reds v Chiefs

11th May 2012 13:46

Share:

Sona Taumalolo Chiefs v Reds 2011

Chiefs: Unbeaten since February

The Reds have a big assignment awaiting them at Suncorp Stadium as the defending champs attempt to break the Chiefs' nine-match winning streak on Sunday.

The table-topping Chiefs, who equaled their best-ever season with last week's win over the Lions, have been the standouts of the 2012 competition to date with their only loss of the season coming against the Highlanders in Round One.

For Queensland, who sit ninth on the table, a win at home is non-negotiable as they strive to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Now nine points behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference, the Reds need to win five of their last six matches to guarantee a finals berth.

"They (the Chiefs) are playing well as a team," said Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.

"They've got a good culture going.

"They're the benchmark side. It's a good challenge for us at Suncorp."

The Chiefs have won on their last two visits to Brisbane, however the Reds prevailed 19-11 in their last encounter during the final round of the 2011 regular season in Hamilton.

But the tables have turned this time out, and the momentum is all with the Chiefs after the Reds came close but failed to knock the Crusaders off their perch in Christchurch last week.

While the previously red-hot Crusaders were kept quiet in Round 11, the Reds face another daunting task containing arguably the best backline in the competition. Sonny Bill Williams has struck up a fine combination with fellow All Black Richard Kahui in the centres while fly-half Aaron Cruden is currently in his career-best form.

"He's obviously taken a lot of confidence from the World Cup last year and now he's playing exceptionally well," said Reds halfback Will Genia.

"He's got the luxury of having guys like Sonny Bill (Williams) and (Richard) Kahui and (Lelia) Masaga outside him, which would make any team's job a lot easier. That's not to take any credit away from him."

On the other end of the scale, the Reds - competition entertainers in 2010 and 2011- have yet to gain an attacking bonus point in 2012 as they have struggled to score tries due to an injury-ravaged backline. The reigning champions have scored just 18 tries in 10 matches, with three their most in any single game.

Could that all change come kick-off on Sunday? As the Reds' hunt for survival increases week by week, they will certainly need to make a go of it.

Prediction: Tough one! The Reds have a lot more on the line than their trans-Tasman rivals, and for this reason we're backing the home side to come out trumps. Reds by five!

The teams:

Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Eddie Quirk, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Rod Davies.

Chiefs: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (capt), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Kane Thompson, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Robbie Robinson.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954