Queensland Reds wary of the roaring Lions

ED JACKSON
Last updated 17:38 18/03/2014

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Crusaders hope to reap the benefit of Nadolo saying no to Fiji Highlanders stay focused despite break as Super Rugby finals race intensifies Super Rugby Power Rankings - week 13 Whitelock hamstrung by injury and scratched from Super Rugby game against Blues Luke Whitelock re-signs with Highlanders for two more seasons Jordan Taufua re-signs with the Crusaders for two years Tricky Mo'unga the busiest of the Crusaders Jeff To'omaga-Allen studiously avoiding any thoughts of All Blacks selection Captain and star player Dane Coles in doubt for Hurricanes' clash with Highlanders Inactive Highlanders, Hurricanes keep pace with Super Rugby play-off race

After a Shark attack in Durban, the Queensland Reds are now preparing themselves for a young pride of Lions to pounce in South Africa's Highveld.

The weary Reds, who shed over 60kg of combined body weight in the humid conditions of Durban in a 35-20 loss to the Sharks last weekend, will have to adjust quickly to the altitude and unusually rainy conditions in Johannesburg for Sunday's clash with the Lions.

Coach Richard Graham said the team had travelled early to Johannesburg to get as much preparation in altitude as possible before the game against the revitalised Lions, who he feels are nothing like the franchise which was dumped from the competition last year.

The Lions have won three of their five matches so far this season and defeated the Blues last weekend in Benji Marshall's first start for the Aucklanders.

Graham highlighted five-eighth Marnitz Boshoff as he discussed the new breed of Lions which bear no resemblance to the perennial wooden spoon contenders the team was before their one-year hiatus in 2013.

"The 2014 Lions side is unrecognisable to the side from 2012," Graham said.

"They've made a raft of changes in their squad having being relegated last year. (They) have come back with a young group, full of energy and playing a good brand of rugby.

"You've got a young group that don't bear the scars of their previous history.

"You've got a 10 at the moment, whilst he's only four games into his Super Rugby career, he's full of confidence and kicking goals from anywhere, from 60 metres out."

Reds flanker Eddie Quirk echoed his coach's sentiments and said making the most of limited opportunities to prepare for conditions will be crucial.

"The altitude's probably the main thing training-wise that you have to adapt to and it's just a different place," Quirk said.

"The majority of the South African teams are big and physical. That's exactly what we expected from the Sharks and they gave us that. We've got to take the same attributes into this week against the Lions.

"Nothing really changes except we've probably got to perform better."

Ad Feedback

- AAP

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content