Fresh back from his honeymoon, incumbent Wallaby winger Peter Hynes has been thrust straight into the new season with some gruelling training sessions under the blazing Queensland sun and the prospect of a positional shift in the wind. It appears as though Hynes will be the first choice fullback for the Reds this season after the injury forced retirement of Mark McLinden.
Despite looking a little rusty after his off-season break, Hynes is keen to meet the challenge of wearing the no. 15 jersey and sees it as a chance to make more of an impact for the Reds this year.
“It’s an exciting prospect for me, a chance to get more hands on ball and attack a bit more so I’m pretty excited about that. It will up-skill me a little bit too, get my kicking better and positionally make me a bit more aware so I think it (the move to fullback) can only help my game as a winger as well.”
Although Hynes only joined training this week, he already likes what he sees with the Reds, particularly the amount of emerging talent. It is clear from watching a few training sessions this year there is more of an edge to everything the team is doing and the pressure for spots is on.
“There’s a lot of young talent and Ewan said that if a young kid goes out there and impresses, he’ll play . I think that’s the way you’ve got to have it. In any team environment competition is always going to help, if you’ve got three people going for one spot everyone’s under pressure to perform.”
“We’ve got some really good young forwards and I think they’re going to put their hands up this season. I think the forwards will be tough, Ewan’s been working really hard with them and they’ve been training really well.”
The Reds early season draw looks to be something of a double edged sword with the bonus of three home games first up tempered with the reality of facing three of the most consistent Super rugby performers in the Tahs, Crusaders and Blues.
Hynes stressed that while Reds weren’t looking beyond the first up grudge match against the Tahs, it was imperative to make the most of the first three outings.
“The Super 14 being such a short season it’s very important to get of to a good start. We’ve got a couple of big games to start so if we can knock a couple of them off our season will get off to a great start.
“At this stage we are looking at one game – and that’s the Waratahs first up.”
It appears likely that Hynes will have a few more weeks of training to orientate himself with the challenge of fullback with his first scheduled appearance to be in the Reds’ trial match against the Crusaders at Ballymore on January 29.
“I’m definitely back for the third trial (vs Force in Perth) but if I’m going to be trialled at fullback then I’ll probably come back for the second trial and maybe play half a game or so just to get some more time there and get a better feeling for it.”
The Reds trial against the Crusaders is shaping as a ripper and with the added intrigue of Hynes’ debut at fullback, it will be one not to be missed.
*note: tickets for the Crusaders trial can be pre-purchased through ticketek