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A good Australian team, but that's all

21 February 2022
queensland reds super rugby 2022 headshots session_taniela tupou
Taniela Tupou. Getty Images.

The Otago Daily Times series looks at the fortunes of the 12 teams in the new Super Rugby Pacific competition. Hayden Meikle finds out more about the Queensland Reds.

Coach: The man, the myth, the legend. Former Highlanders and All Blacks lock Brad Thorn enters his fifth season as Reds coach. He is a beloved figure in the state, especially as the team has improved on his watch.

Star forward: Taniela Tupou — the Tongan Thor — has been around forever but it still only 25. The prop is a wonderful sight with ball in hand.

Star back: Tempting to say James O’Connor, as the ageless ‘‘bad boy’’ is still a classy player. But the main man is livewire halfback and new co-captain Tate McDermott.

Exciting prospect: Mac Grealy has a great name, and the 19-year-old fullback is seen as the next big thing in Queensland.

Nickname (rated out of 10): 2. Honestly, it’s poor. Sports teams should never simply adopt a colour as an official name. Two thumbs down.

Jersey (rated out of 10): 7. Classic maroon, which is a good start. And having the names of the state clubs is a nice touch. But a point or two off for the state silhouette, which just looks like a stain.

Random player from history: Berrick Barnes. Always liked him.

Wait, he plays on this team?: Tom Lynagh is the son of Wallabies great Michael Lynagh. While brother Louis is in the England squad, Tom has come home to pursue a gold jersey.

Last year: The Reds were very good at domestic level in 2021, winning the Super Rugby AU title with seven wins from eight games, including home-and-away wins over both the Waratahs and Brumbies. Like all the Australian teams, they struggled in Super Rugby Transtasman, but they beat the Chiefs, and gave the Blues a good scare in the colour derby.

Predicted finish: 4th. The Reds won’t be too unhappy that the pandemic has forced the schedule to be rejigged. They will carve up the Australian competition in the early rounds, and hope to have enough points in the bank to scrape into the top four. But they won’t get anywhere near the final.

Republished courtesy of the Otago Daily Times.

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