Before this game the Reds writers got together and decided that instead of writing a full on review of the game we’d just answer these two questions.
- Learnings from this game for the season ahead (just one or perhaps two things that you got from this season that may impact the Reds Super Season. i.e. The scrum will still be a weapon, our defensive work is still shit etc.
- Who caught the eye. Just a player (experienced or otherwise) that impressed you in the game.
Here are my thoughts;
- I went to the trial between the Reds and the Crusaders hoping to catch a glimpse of a new playing pattern or a new level of fitness from the Reds. Unfortunately the rain put all paid to anything resembling open field rugby. I can say the Reds scrum in the first half looked just as solid as ever. But any advantage from the scrum was lost with the slippery ball and bad decisions. Richard Graham changed everyone for the second half and the difference in the two sides was stark. The scrum struggled and leaked penalties, the lineout fell to pieces, ruck and maul penalties fell like the rain and any shape they started with disappeared. There seems to be a decent core of players in the first team but the playing level at the moment falls away pretty significantly.
- Lolo Fakaosolea. I’ll be honest I could rattle off the usual suspects and they were good but the 20 year old caught my eye a couple of times. I’m not going to lie you miss a lot of the game when you watch it through a camera lens but the big unit was pretty exciting in contact and didn’t look out of place.
- Depth is an issue. We looked fine and capable with our “number 1 team” (minus a few notables), and were up 3-0 with them. But the replacements, other than the Faingaas, were all rookies and it told. 0-31 when they came on. Our starting XV should be able to compete ok, but injuries will hurt us big time
- Jake McIntyre really impressed me at 10. Kicked very well, ran cleverly and effectively, tackled bravely and worked tirelessly. Has probably secured his 10 jersey for the season opener.
- I though the first half team were a lot better than the second half. The scrum in the second half was weak and they we need to fix the problem with hands in the ruck.
And FTA playing at No. 8?????
- I thought Sam Talakai played well. Getting to the ball quickly and making sure he was over the ball during rucks.
Henry Taefu also had a great game pairing well with Chris F’Sautia making them a viable 12/13 pairing should any other centres get injured.
- First half pack did well and should be the starting pack at least until Slips gets back on deck. Or at least be given the chance to gel inyo a unit. However I was a little curious as to why Holmesy didn’t get a run.
- Andrew Ready- good first half performance. Wouldn’t be surprised is he didn’t leap frog Saia for the starting hooker position at some point.
Like the Reds I’m a little rusty. This has been a good way to ease back into the groove. So what did you think. Did you go to the game? Or did you listen to Reg’s silky voice on the live stream? Who was your player to watch?
Photos by Cloe and HG Nelson