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Stormers on Reds alert

By Jim Morton 22/04/2010 06:16:26 PM Comments (0)

The reborn Reds believe they have detected chinks in the Stormers' armour but must spear through the South Africans' exceptional defence on Friday night without their fastest player.

Rated the most dangerous attacking team in the Super 14 by their opponents, Queensland suffered a late setback before the top-four clash with in-form winger Rod Davies ruled out with a hamstring strain.

It has seen the physical Brando Va'aulu promoted ahead of Wallabies tourist Luke Morahan to mark Springbok flyer Bryan Habana at Suncorp Stadium.

Queensland skipper Will Genia admitted it was a blow to lose Davies but tipped the abrasive Va'aulu, who has bounced back from a poor 2009, to surprise Habana.

"He's done a good job all year, he loves the physical stuff," he said.

"Hopefully he can (do it again), Habana's quick so he has to catch him first but we trust that he will."

Genia praised the Stormers as the competition's form team and the toughest nut to crack.

But he indicated the Reds had devised a strategy to penetrated the Cape Town-based team's defence, which has conceded just 11 tries in nine matches.

"Obviously they are defending very well as a side but with every strength there is a weakness and we've done our homework and hopefully we can take advantage of those weaknesses," Genia said.

Davies is the Reds' equal top try-scorer, along with Digby Ioane and Quade Cooper, with four tries but Stormers skipper Schalk Burger expects the home side to give them their biggest defensive challenge.

Queensland ran the defending champion Bulls off their feet to win 19-12 last week and Burger said the Stormers were braced for the same run-at-all-costs game plan again.

"I think they are playing a really exciting brand of rugby, running the ball from deep in their own half," the Springbok flanker told AAP.

"If you look at the Bulls game they seemed to bust them open quite a few times.

"The Bulls are a quality side and probably the best one in South Africa at the moment so it's going to be a tough challenge and hopefully we are up for it.

"This week scramble defence is going to be important because they do not kick at all and have a go and have really good one-on-one steppers and good continuity which makes it really difficult to defend."

While the Reds have risen to fourth in the competition, to be on track for a first finals berth in nine seasons, Queensland must overcome a dreadful head-to-head record against the Stormers.

Regarded as perennial under-achievers in South Africa, the Stormers have won the last six matches against Queensland and come off a brilliant 49-15 thumping of the Chiefs.

As well as their brick wall defence, the Stormers' success comes off the back of a strong set-piece game and they will attempt to attack the Reds at the lineout.

Queensland have lost their lineout general in Van Humphries (ankle), while the visitors possess 208cm lock Andries Bekker, who is in rare form.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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