I continue with my Super 15 previews as I now turn my attentions to the Reds, many people favour this side to do well, but can they live up to expectations…
The Reds had a terrific 2010 Super Rugby campaign, as they shocked many Rugby fans by finishing 5th in the overall standings. They are a vibrant side who can turn on the style in a blink of an eye, the team from Australia are fancied to make the finals this season after their heroics in 2010, with powerful forwards and fast running backs The Reds could well be in and around top six of the overall standings yet again. In a very tight Australian conference the Brumbies and the Waratahs also pose a threat, but it’s the Reds who are expected to finish top.
The Reds have a very young side but some of the players are highly rated, and players like Will Chambers, Rod Davies and James Slipper could all make big breakthroughs this season. Most of the top players are 25 and younger, as a youthful side compared to others could well set the Super 15 season alight. The Reds are a class act and if they beat the Brumbies and the Waratahs, at least once in Australia then I reckon they could be in with a real shout of Super Rugby glory.
The Reds have many players which can turn the volume up at any time, I will start with the forwards first and the trio of James Slipper, Ben Daley and Saia’ Fainga’a are all top talents. At only 21 Slipper has already been capped by Australia, many Rugby pundits have Slipper down as an emerging talent, while at Hook Saia Fainga’a could well be the first choice Wallabies number 2 in a couple of years time, even though he has got a lot to learn the signs of brilliance are just peaking through. At lock the Reds have two young upcoming talents on show, Rob Simmons but especially James Horwill at just 25 both possess good tackling skills and good hands at the line out.
When you look at the half-back pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper, it sends shivers down your spine. This could be the best 9-10 partnership in Super Rugby history in my view, at only 23 Will Genia has excellent pace and works through gaps ever so well. Quade Cooper is an amazing talent and rightfully deserved last year’s Super 14 player of the season, The Reds fans can expect more of the same in 2011 as he can count himself as one of the best youngsters in the game.
Im not finished their though, as the centre and the wingers could cause any opposition all sorts of problems. Anthony Fainga’a, Digby Ioane, Will Chambers, Rod Davies, Luke Morahan and Peter Hynes are all so dangerous at going forward. I will only concentrate on three players though, as Chambers, Davies and Morahan all have big seasons ahead of them. All three are superb talents and this skillful trio will be knocking on the door this term for an international call-up, Davies and Morahan have already been picked in Australian sides recently, as Chambers looks to follow in his team mates footsteps. All those players I mention above are capable of ripping a team to shreds.
The Reds are an amazing side and everyone expects them to do well again this year, many young players will be on show and that will surely be exciting to watch. They haven’t got the quality like the Bulls and Crusaders, but they certainly will get wins on the board. If they top the Australian conference, they will be one step closer to Super 15 glory; however I would give them another year to mature as a side, 2011 Super 15 is a bit too early in my view.