Reds bank on 'X-factor'

2012-02-09 09:07

Sydney - Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is convinced the Super Rugby champions will not miss inspirational flyhalf Quade Cooper too much when they begin the defence of their title later this month.

The mercurial Cooper and his halfback partner Will Genia were ever-present last year and played major roles in driving the Reds to a first title in the southern hemisphere's annual provincial championship.

Cooper capped a miserable World Cup, however, by damaging the cruciate ligament in his right knee during Australia's third place playoff against Wales and is likely to miss the first two months of the new season, which starts on February 24.

"We used 37 players to get the job done done last year so it wasn't like we were relying on one player," McKenzie told reporters at the Australian launch of the Super Rugby season on Thursday.

"No doubt we got great value out of Will and Quade ... but every team knows you've got to turn to the next guy and the guy after that, they're the guys that ultimately end up making a difference for you over the season."

Ben Lucas, starting fullback last year, and Mike Harris, who played at centre outside Cooper, are vying for the flyhalf spot, which will free up places in the side for other players to come through.

"We're quite excited about having a look at some of these guys," McKenzie added. "We've hired them for a reason and now we get a chance to get a look at them.

"They've got some great skills, different skills, we might have to modify things slightly but we're actually picking up strengths elsewhere.

"We get a little bit of the element of surprise. Everyone tells us in the newspaper every week that they're going to shut down Will and Quade. Well Quade's not there, so they've got to work on who they shut down now.

"The X-factor doesn't always have to reside in one player. We've some interesting players, we've got some good youngsters coming through so we'll give them the big stage and see what they've got."

Before the arrival of McKenzie in 2010, the Reds were strugglers and the former Wallabies prop said last year's victory over the Canterbury Crusaders was "a great achievement for a young team without much experience".

That said, he thought there was plenty of room for improvement this season.

"If you go back and have a look at the scorelines, we didn't smash teams, we just did enough on each night to give ourselves a chance to play in the final - and once you're in there, you have to do the business," he said.

"The beauty for us is that every guy that ran out there for us at the start of that game is still with us and we've got other good players coming on. So we're quite pleased with where we sit right.

"The question is how we front up, that's the interesting part."


  • Saffa - 2012-02-09 09:15

    And the Bulls bank on the X-tractor.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 09:39

      Tractor old chap, tractor......far removed from x-factor. As far removed as Pierre Spies from a ruck to be honest.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 09:50

      Spelling error? You have got to be kidding me.......The day I put X-FACTOR and Bulls in the same sentence, is the day ummmmmmm wait...(I'm not going to bother completing the sentence as that day will never come.......) You know that of course....

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:16

      @Blue......extreme hatred, No. Extreme irritation, Yes. Much in the same way you attack the Stormers and WP at every given chance I suppose.......You see, the Tswane toadstools (Bulls fans) become very defensive, very quickly when their 'spannetjie' is attacked - yet those self same garden gnomes, will happily dish out insults and 'hatemail' on their 'pay as you go Nokia's' to the Stormers team alllllllllllll day. What's good for the goose and all that old chap? Making any sense yet? PS: All supporters need to lighten the hell up, and stop being so precious about their teams - end of.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:47

      Nope, you didn't 'touch/hit' a nerve @Blue. You are still breathing aren't you? By the way, is that you Blueraven?

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:49

      And @Blue - one can see it is 10.30 tea time in the Tswane government you are suddenly getting plensch thumbs up for your anti-Stormer fabrications....and I am getting plensch thumbs down for my truthful facts on the Bulls.....

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 11:10

      I do love the rivalry amongst 'certain' fans @Blue - lol. My peeve is with those who take everything on these forums far too seriously. I take the rugby seriously - the restof it is what makes the day move faster........

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 11:22

      @Blue - I take Dozey seriously. The man works for the FBI. :)

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 11:51

      @Blue - oh but I do take them seriously.....seriously enough for a thesis - "Bulls fans-The tribe evolution left behind".

      Shistirrer - 2012-02-09 13:12

      Saffa, evolution is usually halted by inbreeding. I heard they are doing a remake of "Deliverance", it's about a group of Stormers fans who goes to watch a game a Loftus and have to fight for their lives after being attacked by a whole tribe of blue-painted inbred halfwits with horns and nose rings. The theme song is "Duelling konsertinas" sung by Steve Hofmeyr.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 13:42

      OK @Shistirrer - now I am officially and merrily ROTFLMAO.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 13:46

      C'mon @Blue - that was funny.......Deliverance....or rather: Aflewering-ance

      Shistirrer - 2012-02-09 14:00

      @Blue - the official reason is that, while N24 don't mind sh#t being spoken or stirred, as is more than evident on these forums, they take exception to the word actually being spelled correctly. Furthermore, the way I spell it, it's a lot easier for you, Dozey and Brannas to slur when you are discussing my superior wit over a Klippies or seven.

      Shistirrer - 2012-02-09 14:45

      Blue, now you are seriously scaring me. It's said that the removal of front teeth on the Cape Flats is to improve kissing. Now, exactly HOW do you want me to prove I have front teeth? E-e-e-e-e-u-u-u-wwww!!!! The mere thought just made me puke in my mouth...

      Shistirrer - 2012-02-09 16:10

      You know the Shistirrer wil never publish a photograph ;-) It's good to keep you guessing. But I know deep in your heart of hearts you were secretly wishing for the Cape Flats proof. Don't worry, we will still love you if you climb out of the closet...

  • Jason - 2012-02-09 10:39

    Guy is stoned if he can just walk away from the crisp sweet passes of quade cooper. sure quade sucked playing for Aus but he played the reds into the final

  • Paul - 2012-02-09 10:43

    if all goes according to plan, i will be attending the season opener NSW vs Red at anz stadium. looking forward to it.

      Utopian - 2012-02-09 10:55

      I won't have to compromise and watch at the ANZ stadium, If all goes well i will be attending the bulls vs Sharks game in SA with the smell of braai fires and boerewors wafting through the air.

  • Kobus - 2012-02-09 11:44

    Mielie ons Kapenaars voer nou ons eie mielies van oorsee af in !!!!!!!!!

  • Kobus - 2012-02-09 11:49

    Wat het dan van Q Cooper geword??????????

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