Braid warns Blues can ruin Reds' night - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Braid warns Blues can ruin Reds' night

By Jim Morton 26/02/2010 03:43:42 PM Comments (0)

New Reds vice-captain Daniel Braid has warned that his under-achieving former side, the Blues, are dangerously poised to gate-crash Queensland's return to Ballymore.

Braid will front up against his talent-laden former team for the first time in Super 14 action on Saturday night and is wary about their strike power.

The former All Black flanker missed the Reds' rousing 31-24 upset of the Blues in 2009, their first in NZ for five years, after rupturing his achilles the previous week.

The devastating injury not only ruled him out of the rest of the 2009 season but there was a bigger sting in the tail as it also cost him a three-year contract with Llanelli Scarlets.

But, like the Reds, Braid has refocused and gained a new lease of life under the Super 14's new law interpretations to be revelling in the linkman's role he played in the Blues' 2003 Super 12 triumph.

Queensland go into the clash as rare favourites following their 41-20 upset of the Crusaders but Braid, who spent four months of his rehab in Auckland, believes the Blues are a different outfit to that which bombed badly in Pat Lam's first season in charge.

"I think they really are building," he said.

"Pat Lam is a very good coach and really knows the game and a lot of the players there will get used to how he wants to play the game.

"The fact they went down to Dunedin last week and won ugly (19-15 over the Highlanders), in previous years they would have fallen over down there, that's dangerous signs.

"They have so much talent and strike power in the backline. They can beat anyone."

Showing their depth of talent, the Blues have lost Test centre Isaia Toeava (hip) but replaced him with the damaging Rene Ranger.

Inconsistent Queensland are desperate to post their first back-to-back victory since 2006 and the return to spiritual home Ballymore could be timely.

For marquee import Braid, who must look for a new home after May, he's relishing the chance to play with a team that has reminded him of the 2003 Blues.

"We used to play a lot more rugby and me and (Blues flanker) Justin Collins used to make 20-plus tackles a game," he said.

"The Reds and Blues play is quite similar. We've got a young five-eighth Quade (Cooper) who has got shades of Carlos Spencer all through him."

Braid takes over as vice-captain after Will Genia takes the captaincy reins for the season from James Horwill (knee).

He is understood to be one player in the sights of the Melbourne Rebels but the five-Test flanker is focussed on enjoying the 2010 season after the devastation of losing his Scarlets contract, after he'd signed, on medical grounds.

"It was really, really gutting for me and my wife," he said. "We were set for three years.

"To have that just disappear in one game with one big injury it was pretty devastating.

"I thought (the Scarlets' decision) was very harsh. I would have only missed half a dozen games if I did the rehab right, I could have been back playing in six months."

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