The Reds can power their way to victory over the force. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Getty Images
Reds v Force
Saturday, April 5 – 6:40pm (AEST)
What did they do last week? The Reds outlasted the Stormers 22-17 at Suncorp Stadium. The Force had the week off to reflect on their 18-15 upset victory over defending champs the Chiefs in Round 6.
Things you need to know:
The Reds have a bit of a backline crisis on their hands. Outside backs Aidan Toua, Dom Shipperley and Chris Feauai-Sautia are all injured, with debutant Jamie-Jerry Taulagi expected to be among the new faces. Gun openside flanker Liam Gill is still sidelined, with Beau Robinson to wear the number seven again after a big game against the Stormers. Richard Graham's men are three-and-three to start the season. They're fourth in the Aussie Conference and ninth overall.
The Force have won three on the trot including their last start win over the Chiefs. The men from the west are now third in the conference and eighth overall. They welcome back No.8 Ben McCalman from suspension this week.
Reason to watch:
Nick Cummins' inevitable post-match interview. Even if he has a shocker they're stick a camera in his face and make him talk just to see what gibberish comes out.
Reason to turn away:
The Force can be kick happy and will try and turn it into a bash fest.
"The Force play very little rugby out of their own half, a very strong field position game," – Reds coach Richard Graham.
Are the unheralded Force a team on the rise or is their three-game winning streak just a purple patch that won't last. And are the Reds at the start of a downward spiral or are can they still be a factor this season. We won't get all the answers on Saturday night but we'll get a few clues as to where these teams both sit. Suncorp Stadium is an unhappy hunting ground for most visiting teams but the Force won the corresponding clash last year 19-12 and lost by one point in Brisbane a year earlier. They haven't lost to the Reds in three games and are in better form than the 2011 champs. Factor in the Reds' mini injury crisis and we can't go past Michael Foley's men. Force by five.
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