Reds reveal pre-season trial matches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds reveal pre-season trial matches

22/10/2009 06:31:14 PM Comments (0)

New Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie will have a prime early chance to test the mettle of his young Reds against the indomitable Crusaders at Ballymore in the Super 14 pre-season.

The Reds will start their pre-season campaign against McKenzie's former side - the NSW Waratahs - in Lismore before playing the Crusaders and Western Force in tough trials.

McKenzie indicated Queensland would field an almost second-string outfit against the Waratahs on January 23 before ramping up for Richie McCaw's Crusaders six days later.

The Reds' six Wallabies tourists would likely return to action in the second trial, pending injury concerns following the Grand Slam tour, against the competition's seven-time champions.

Queensland's last warm-up before their Super 14 opener against the Waratahs (February 13) will be in Perth against the Force on February 5 when both sides will aim to be at full strength.

McKenzie, who started controlling training sessions this week, has already been impressed by the Reds' spirit and response to his appointment, replacing Phil Mooney.

"It's happened very quickly," he said.

"They're very responsive. They seem to be able to handle change, a lot of people struggle with change, but there has been a lot of change in the last month or so.

"We need to create a competitive environment and with the bunch of good young players we've got coming through, I think we've got the ingredients for that."

McKenzie, who took NSW to three finals series in five seasons in charge, has a huge task to turn around six years of bottom three finishes in Super rugby at Ballymore.

"The Waratahs game is a very, very important game first up but we've got time on our side," he said.

"It's about incremental change, it is about doing little things every day and hopefully some of that will turn into a winning result."

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