I remember watching the Crusaders give the Tahs a record hiding some years back and thinking the likes of that score would never be repeated. I’ve given it some thought, and I reckon there is a distinct possibility that it might well be repeated this weekend.
The Crusaders have romped back into the semi-final hunt and, unlike several other teams above them, are playing their best rugby of the season. They must keep winning with bonus points in order to have a crack at the finals so there is no lack of motivation that might lead to a ‘Blues’ or ‘Shorks’ like upset the Reds inflicted earlier this season.
Indeed the news does not get any better for the Reds even after the Saders have chalked up the four try bonus point. With point’s differential likely to determine who the finalists will be, and the Crusaders being a ruthless pack of bastards, there will be no let up to the scoring.
For the Reds, the result will matter little – it will be the method in which they go about trying to limit the damage. With a raft of new players being brought into the team, and other fringe dwellers finally getting their chance at a starting spot, it will be about showing some determination and making a stand.
It will not be enough to win the match, but at least a performance that shows a modicum of passion will be something that may show there are some signs of life after another listless, disinterested and flaccid performance last week.
Of interest, will be to see how the pedigreed Andrew Shaw goes against Richie the Cheat. Shaw, just named in the Australian under 20 squad, has been a stand-out performer in Brisbane club rugby for the last two seasons and has shown enough promise in his hit-outs for the Reds Academy to think that he maybe a long term answer to void left by his Brothers team-mate, David Croft.
The other interest for the Reds supporters will be how Quade Cooper responds to his stone-kicking effort last week. It seems a long time since he was being talked about as a potential Wallaby and rightly so, his performance last week when his team need leadership, was horrendous.
The Reds will not win, but it is the manner in which they lose that will determine whether the game is a step forward for them or not.
Cote says – Dust off the abacus for this one, Saders by 35