Faingaa tips more improvement from Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Faingaa tips more improvement from Reds

Jim Morton 28/06/2011 02:48:11 PM Comments (0)

Queensland hooker Saia Faingaa has declared the turbo-charged Reds will find top gear in their first Super Rugby play-off in 10 years.

In a word of warning to Auckland's Blues, Faingaa tipped the entertaining table-toppers to unleash their best performance of the season in Saturday night's semi-final at Suncorp Stadium.

The 11-Test Wallabies rake said the young side hadn't reached their full potential and expected improvement in all facets following a welcome week off to freshen up and prepare.

Faingaa also emphasised the boost coming from the return of injured stars Digby Ioane, Beau Robinson and his twin brother Anthony to ensure a high-quality display against the Blues.

"I think there's a lot more improvement, I don't think the guys have played their best yet," he said on Tuesday.

"When finals football does come around this week everyone will be stepping up.

"Scrum wise, lineout, set piece, the backs, I think everything will be up to a new level and I can't wait to see the likes of Quade Cooper in attack and my twin brother Anthony in defence.

"The whole squad has been working really hard together and to have three guys, who have worked super hard for us, come back at the same time is unreal."

Faingaa's equally excited about going head-to-head with childhood hero Keven Mealamu, seven years his senior.

While the 83-Test All Black made his Blues debut in 2000, Mealamu, 31, is still rated the No.1 hooker in the game by the Canberra-born Queenslander.

"Keven Mealamu was one of my idols growing up and to play against him is a great honour every time," Faingaa said.

"Around the field he's a workhorse, scrum-wise and lineout wise, he does the basics and everything well so I base my game around his game."

The Blues scrum is the main area of potential trouble for Queensland in the wake of tighthead prop James Slipper's ankle injury as well as the Kiwi side's dominance of the set piece in the Reds' 37-31 victory six weeks ago.

Adaptable reserve prop Greg Holmes and former Wallabies scrum anchor Guy Shepherdson are vying for the No.3 jersey.

Faingaa and Reds skipper James Horwill backed both men to do the job opposite Charlie Faumuina and also hosed down any concerns about the Suncorp Stadium surface which was relaid more than a week ago.

The turf, damaged through wear and tear from three football codes since the January floods, has been reinforced with a nylon-style mesh.

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