Injured Queensland five-eighth Quade Cooper expects the Reds to adopt a take no prisoners attitude and test out the Waratahs’ inexperienced wingers in Saturday’s opening-round Super Rugby clash at ANZ Stadium.
The Reds started their 2011 campaign with a crushing away loss to NSW in Sydney and Cooper believed Queensland would adopt an uncompromising attitude and ration their razzle-dazzle moments this weekend to avoid a similar result.
He said that game had been a wake-up call and an embarrassment.
“I’m sure the mindset the boys bring into this game will be take no prisoners, come down here and do everything we can to go away with the win,” Cooper told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
“That doesn’t mean we come down here and play necessarily flash football to entertain the crowd here. It’s about getting the win.”
Cooper, who is recuperating from a serious knee injury, resumed running last week and said he pulled up well after a 1.5km run on Monday.
He was confident his replacement Mike Harris could handle the demands of the five-eighth position and said he had given the New Zealander some advice.
“I’ve been speaking to him pretty regularly, just more about positional play like game planning,” Cooper said.
“Hopefully giving him as many tips as possible, but you never want to give someone too many tips and tread on their toes because he has his own ideas.”
Cooper said Harris, who has played mostly at inside centre for Queensland, would have plenty of support and wouldn’t have to carry an undue load.
He said halfback Will Genia, lock Rob Simmons and winger Digby Ioane would all step up to help Harris.
“He (Harris) is confident in his ability as are we as a team – everybody is behind him,” Cooper said.
Harris and Genia could well direct a lot of their tactical kicking to an inexperienced Waratahs back three, which is likely to include young wingers Tom Kingston and Brackin Karauria-Henry.
“It has to be an area that you’d like to target with them being such a young back three,” Cooper said.
“But at the same time, they are very talented players, so you don’t want to give them ball too easy and give them a chance to counter attack because they are all skilful players.
Injured Waratahs winger Drew Mitchell said while he expected ball to come the way of the young NSW backs, he thought they would be fine after getting an early touch.
He said he had sat down with the young backs and shown them some clips from the Waratahs trial matches and given them some advice.
“For young guys, it’s to keep things pretty simple,” Mitchell said.
“The moment you start thinking about too much then you are not going to have any focus on the moment.
“Just to really enjoy it as well and not get out there and be overawed by the situation or the occasion.”