Queensland Reds

Preview: Reds vs Bulls

Preview: Reds vs Bulls

The Reds horror draw to start the season is behind them now and they are back home to start the road to redemption against the Bulls from Pretoria, South Africa.  Fortune typically favours the home team in this match up but both teams are absolutely desperate for a win so this may be the match where it actually favours the brave.  Who has the edge leading into this game?  Read on to find out…


Both teams are sitting on just one win for the season.  The Reds with 5 losses and the Bulls, having already enjoyed a bye, only have 4 losses.  Thanks to a bunch of spirited losing bonus points though the Reds sit comfortably in the middle of the Australian conference while the Bulls are second last in theirs.  It could be argued though (and you know I will) that the Reds having endured the far tougher draw to date (trips to South Africa, South America and played the defending champs at their home ground) are arguably in better form than the Bulls who up until this match, hadn’t left South Africa.  It has to be said though that the Bulls are coming off a big win against the Highlanders so if we were looking at trend lines they might paint a different picture.

In terms of the head to head, in the 22 times these two teams have met, the Reds have won 12 and the Bulls 10.  In all but 3 of these matches, the win has gone the way of the home side.  The Bulls have won once in Brisbane and the Reds twice in Pretoria.

Key Match Ups:

Dane Zander vs Trevor Nyakane & Taniela Tupou vs Lizo Gqoboka:  The Reds scrum started off as the weapon it has been in recent years but for some reason, whilst still being very strong, they are struggling to simply dominate opposition scrums like they can.  The Bulls scrum has been excellent so far and let’s be honest, it’s been a traditional strong point for them.  The scrum success according to Opta Stats rates the Bulls unit (95%) just ahead of the Reds (90%).  What is worrying though is that our tighthead, Taniela Tupou is the most penalised (9) player in the competition.  I know a lot of his penalties come from general play but still, having a penalty magnet in the front row could be all it takes to sway a few 50/50 calls the Bulls way.  Added to this, JP being crook, and as much as I like young Zander, he has a tough night ahead packing down against Trevor Nyakane.  I’m worried the Bulls might have the edge here.

Against the Bulls in 2018 the Reds scrum was a weapon

Against the Bulls in 2018 the Reds scrum was a weapon

Their kicker vs our kicker: Time to be brutally honest.  Our goal kicking has been a disaster this season.  We kicked precisely 0% of our goals last week which is bad enough, but when you consider that if we kicked them we would have beaten the defending champs in their own backyard, you start to get a picture of just how bad it is.  Against a team like the Bulls who have names like Morne Steyn on their team sheet (on the bench I know), Missed. Kicks. Will. Hurt. Us.

Team News


The curse of the Reds 13 jersey continues with Hunter Paisami ruled out for a month.  Chris Feauai-Sautia has been shifted in from the wing as expected but that’s where the unsurprising selections stop.  Bryce Hegarty will start on the wing which means Jock Campbell retain his fullback spot.  You can’t blame them for not wanting to change Jock’s role in any way but still, Bryce is a more than capable full back and Jock was excellent on the wing last season.  My best guess is that the Reds will look to play a dual fullback style game to counter the Bulls kicking and field position tactics.  But really, who knows.  James O’Connor is making a return to the 10 Jersey to round out the backs ins and outs.  In the forwards, scrum weapon, JP Smith, is unavailable due to illness which has handed Dane Zander his first Super Rugby start.  Also a late scratching of Josh Nasser potentially gives QLD Schoolboys (2010) Jack Straker his Super Rugby debut off the bench.


The Bulls have elected to make only one change to their 23 that thumped the Highlanders last weekend.  They welcome back their captain, Burger Odendaal who will slot back in at inside centre and Kotze moving out to outside centre.  Nafi Tuitavake was the unlucky one to be left at home to make way for Odendaal.


I think the Reds would have been expecting to be in a better position on the ladder at this fixture with a couple of could-have-been wins slipping away from them.  Season in the balance or not though, this would have been one they would have marked down as a win from day one.  Some injury forced substitution in the back line will test them but I’m tipping the Reds to be too strong for the Bulls.  Reds by 10.


St George QLD Reds

1 Dane Zander

2 Alex Mafi

3 Taniela Tupou

4 Angus Blythe

5 Harry Hockings

6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

7 Liam Wright (c)

8 Harry Wilson

9 Scott Malolua

10 James O’Connor

11 Henry Speight

12 Hamish Stewart

13 Chris Feauai-Sautia

14 Bryce Hegarty

15 Jock Campbell


16 Ed Craig

17 Harry Hoopert

18 Jack Straker

19 Angus Scott-Young

20 Fraser McReight

21 Tate McDermott

22 Isaac Lucas

23 Filipo Daugunu


1 Lizo Gqoboka

2 Jaco Visagie

3 Trevor Nyakane

4 Ian Groenewald

5 Ruan Nortje

6 Marco Van Staden

7 Josh Strauss

8 Muller Uys

9 Embrose Papier

10 Manie Libbok

11 Rosko Specman

12 Burger Odendaal (c)

13 Johnny Kotze

14 Cornal Hendricks

15 Warrick Gelant


16 Corniel Els

17 Gerhard Steenkamp

18 Wiehahn Herbst

19 Ryno Pieterse

20 Ruan Steenkamp

21 Ivan Van Zyl

22 Morne Steyn

23 Divan Rossouw


Date:   Saturday 14 March 2020
Venue:   Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off:   6:15pm AEST
Referee:    Mike Fraser
AR1:   Rasta Rasivhenge
AR2:   Graham Cooper
TMO:   George Ayoub


Queensland Reds

I love the Reds and I love the second row. That probably tells you all you need to know about me. I can often be found engaged in pointless arguments in the GaGR forums as 'Scoey".

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