It’s a big call considering that they lost 92-3 the last time they played at Loftus, but Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believes the Reds are capable of upsetting the Bulls in Pretoria in the first round of the Super 14 next week.
Rob Houwing writes for Sport 24 that the Queenslanders finished 12th last season and have tended to be the weakest of the four Australian franchises in recent campaigns.
But New Zealander Deans reckons a four-match sweep for the Aussie teams is possible in week one, including a shock outcome at Loftus.
“I believe we can get four results (in the opening round),” he told The Australian newspaper on Wednesday.
“If we get that, it will be game on because a big part of it is belief and obviously some of the teams lack a bit of background in that.
“If the Reds can get up in Pretoria, they are under way. They are a young team, but a very able team, particularly if they structure a game that suits what they’ve got.”
Other first-round matches for the Australian teams see the Brumbies visiting the Highlanders, the Force entertaining the Blues and the Waratahs going to Wellington for a tough date with the Hurricanes.
While the Reds were famously pulverised on the highveld two years ago, there was a remarkable 121-point “swing” in 2008 as they thumped the Bulls 40-8 in Australia.
Meanwhile, the visitors to Pretoria next Saturday apparently intend fielding Wallaby wing Peter Hynes at fullback.
They are trying desperately to fill the void left by long-serving Chris Latham at No 15; he has moved to Worcester in the English Premiership.
Hynes was quoted in the Brisbane Courier Mail on Wednesday as saying: “I’m happy to play fullback if that’s what suits the team but I’ll let the coaches know if I’m not happy there as well.”Tweet