Reds relish challenge
QUEENSLAND front-rower James Hanson believes the Reds will need to be at their defensive best to stave off a Wellington attack that he rates as the best in Super Rugby.
The exhibition match at Stockland Park tomorrow night is the sides' only hitout in a month-long season break and both teams are treating the match as a crucial outing.
"They (Wellington) have picked a really good side and I presume they're in a similar mindset to us," Hanson said.
"They won't be coming over here to play Barbarians style. They're coming here to win and they've picked a side that reflects that.
"They have only lost three or four guys to the All Blacks, so it's a pretty full-strength team and they've been the best attacking team in the competition.
"In terms of stats, they've scored the most tries off set pieces and off turnover plays - so they're a very dangerous side.
"Throughout the year they've probably been a little bit inconsistent, because they've knocked over a few of the top teams and lost to a few of the lower teams, but on a good night they're tough for anyone to beat."
With Super Rugby's leading try-scorer, Andre Taylor, in their ranks tomorrow night, the Hurricane are indeed a dangerous proposition, but Hanson and the ninth-placed Reds welcome the challenge of playing the sixth-placed side.
"We'll be tested and that's what you want from this game," Hanson said.
"There's obviously not much room to move in the three rounds left in the season, so we have to get it right and you want a hard, challenging game leading up to that."
He was backing his side's defence to hold firm.
"All year we have had a low tackle focus to make it easier for our ball scavengers to get on the ball, especially with Liam Gill," Hanson said.
"Gilly isn't playing on Friday, but with Ed Quirk at seven you'll have a similar sort of thing.
"He's a guy who goes hard at the ball.
"I think he'll do a great job, along with (Jake) Schatz.
"But it (defence) has been the focus of the whole team, not just the flankers, to be on that the ball to slow down the breakdown, especially against the Canes, which have such a good attack."
Ben Lucas was named yesterday as captain of the Reds for their clash with Wellington, as revealed in the Daily yesterday.
Dom Shipperley has been named on an extended bench.
- QUEENSLAND v WELLINGTON
- Tomorrow, Stockland Park, 6.30pm