Braid praises Reds backline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Braid praises Reds backline

By Jim Morton 28/02/2009 03:29:48 PM Comments (0)

Queensland's All Black flanker Daniel Braid believes the Reds' exciting backline boasts as much talent as his 2003 Blues teammates who took the Super 12 by storm.

Braid delivered the huge wrap as the Reds look to run the Cheetahs ragged on a hot Brisbane afternoon for a pressure-relieving victory at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Despite Queensland's winless two-match tour of South Africa, the five-Test New Zealand import has been hugely impressed by the skill and speed of the Reds attacking men.

"I've played with Blues teams over the years that have been stacked with so much backline talent and I see that same talent here as well," Braid enthused.

"We just have to have that belief and put it out on the park each week.

"As a team we know we can't just play some pretty we've got to start winning some games."

The highlight of Braid's 59-match Super rugby career with the Auckland-based Blues was their 2003 championship triumph where Test stars Carlos Spencer, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, Joe Rokocoko and Doug Howlett led the way.

The 27-year-old sees the same promise in the likes of Wallabies young guns Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes and Peter Hynes.

The Cheetahs have quickly identified Queensland's backline as their biggest threat on a predicted 34-degree day.

"They are quite a dangerous team with a lot of gifted backline players, and they're dangerous from counter-attack so we have to be in their faces if we are to have any chance of beating them," said coach Naka Drotske.

"It's not going to be easy."

Rather than the heat, the high humidity might be the biggest stumbling block for the Bloemfontein-based outfit which is yet to win in 16 matches in Australasia.

But Drotske believes his men are ready to bury their bogey after going close in Perth last week with a 16-10 loss to the Western Force and losing three of their four 2008 Down Under games by less than six points.

Reds coach Phil Mooney isn't underestimating the Cheetahs and can't afford to, especially after wilting in the games his team was expected to win in 2008.

"Last year we could get up for perceived big games," Mooney said. "We almost needed to be backs to the wall (to perform).

"The proof of the pudding will come on the weekend."

Round three has also been an issue, with the Reds season unravelling in 2008 with a painful upset loss to the Brumbies when they didn't aim up.

"Motivation and making sure we front up on Sunday is not an issue anymore," Mooney said.

Mooney has moved to ensure there will be no repeat of the Reds' half-time fadeouts in South Africa and his players are also aware of the threat Cheetahs radar-boot Jaques-Louis Potgieter if they are undisciplined.

In an interesting sideline battle, Hynes is desperate to square the ledger against Cheetahs winger Jongi Nokwe who scored four tries on Test debut for the Springboks last year.

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