Showdown Between Fierce Rugby Rivals

Source: Peter Wallis/News Limited
The Reds are looking to finish the season on a high. Source: Peter Wallis/News Limited

Reds Super Rugby Logo

Reds v Waratahs

Suncorp Stadium

Saturday July 12 – 7:40 PM (AEST)




Warratahs Super Rugby Logo

It’s a rivalry that spans across all codes. The animosity between Queensland and New South Wales isn’t just limited to Rugby League. Since the Super Rugby competition kicked off almost 20 years ago, the match-ups between the Queensland Reds  and the New South Wales Waratahs  have been must watch events. In 22 meetings, the Reds have the goods over the Tahs, with 13 wins, 8 losses and one draw. But both teams are at different ends of the spectrum this year, with the Reds near the bottom of the table and the Waratahs finishing well on top.

This Reds outfit is a shadow of the one that took out the title three years ago. In 2011 they were so well drilled and well structured. Everyone knew their job, and did it with precision. Ewen McKenzie did wonders with the Reds when he took over as coach in 2010. But when he left last year, they lost their way. There seems to be no drive and determination within the squad. When they are behind on the scoreboard, they put their heads down, and don’t have a dig. This doesn’t fall on new coach Richard Graham’s shoulders, but if he wants the Reds to be a championship contender next year, he needs to instil some passion back into this side. Liam Gill returns after missing the better part of a month with calf injury. Graham is forced to make a change, after yet another injury to yet another scrum-half, with Nick Frisby (jaw) being replaced by young gun Scott Gale.

Win, lose or draw, the Waratahs are finishing on top of the ladder. Coming into this encounter, they have won six games in a row - not a bad way to head into the Finals. Their back five are the main reason they a flying high. Israel Falou, Alofa Alofa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale and Rob Horne have all been in career-best form at the back-end of the season. They are safe as houses in defence, and so damaging in attack. Falou, the competition's leading try-scorer, will miss Saturday’s match-up after failing to recover from a corked thigh. Cam Crawford gets a start at fullback, in only his fifth appearance for the Waratahs this year. Big Will Skelton will join the starting XV, with Jacques Potgieter relegated to the bench.

It is the last game of the regular season. The Tahs are through to the finals, but the Reds will be watching from home. With nothing to lose for both teams, this one has the potential to be really entertaining. But the traditional derby has often turned into a dour grudge match, with neither side prepared to give an inch. Here's to ditching that tradition and engaging in some running rugby.

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Toby's Tip: Waratahs 13+

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