Macqueen wants to upset McKenzie - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Macqueen wants to upset McKenzie

By Jim Morton 05/05/2011 05:38:45 PM Comments (0)

Like a proud father, master coach Rod Macqueen has watched the deeds of Ewen McKenzie with great joy but nothing would please him more than upsetting his one-time apprentice at AAMI Park.

Macqueen's Melbourne Rebels face what he terms as the "ultimate test" against a fellow Australian side in Friday night's clash with McKenzie's high-flying Queensland Reds.

Not only are the Reds third on the Super Rugby table and smarting from a last-gasp loss to the Hurricanes, McKenzie has picked his best team of the season to play the Rebels.

Queensland halfback Will Genia on Thursday rated it the strongest available, Macqueen agreeing and admitting his side had a massive assignment against the outfit that inflicted a record 53-3 thrashing against them in round five.

The former World Cup-winning Wallabies coach was McKenzie's mentor at the Brumbies in 1996 and 1997 and rates him a logical candidate to succeed Robbie Deans if the Kiwi moved back to New Zealand next year.

"Ewen's doing a great job and has proven himself as a great coach," Macqueen told AAP.

"Queensland are doing really well and it's important to respect that.

"You would have to say this would be (the Reds' strongest side) which is good ... you like to compare yourself against the best team in Australia.

"They're playing exciting rugby at the moment."

While the Reds are dazzling rugby fans with Test halves Genia and Quade Cooper pulling the attacking strings, the Rebels are coming off three straight losses.

But they were breathing easier on Thursday with five-eighth James Hilgendorf being cleared of a shoulder problem at a time star import Danny Cipriani is sidelined for disciplinary reasons.

Macqueen has made two changes to the starting team that went down late to NSW with Kiwi back-rower Hoani Macdonald replacing hard-tackling league convert Jarrod Saffy (groin) and former Reds prop Laurie Weeks called into the front row.

Weeks' promotion from the bench sees veteran New Zealander Greg Somerville move across from tighthead to loosehead with Rodney Blake rotated out.

Neither Rebels props would have nice memories of the last meeting between the two sides with Queensland loosehead Ben Daley barging over Weeks for his first Super Rugby try and Somerville embarrassingly dropping the ball over the goal-line.

Both Daley (broken nose) and fellow Wallabies prop James Slipper (collarbone) have returned from injury in a massive boost for the Reds.

"They're unbelievable to have back in the side and everyone is looking forward to seeing their impact ... because their work-rate is unbelievable," Genia told AAP.

"It's like having another couple of flankers out there.

"They're blokes you love having in your side."

But Queensland still remain wary of a fledgling Rebels outfit that has upset both the Brumbies and Hurricanes at home.

"They're a much better team at home than on the road and when they're on they're a very, very good side and can cause some upsets and play some enterprising footy," Genia said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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