Reds target Super Rugby bonus points
Defensive linchpin Anthony Faingaa believes Queensland have momentum in spite of a gut-wrenching Christchurch loss but must start gaining four-try bonus points to make the Super Rugby finals.
The competition entertainers in 2010 and 2011, the Reds have yet to gain an attacking bonus point in 2012 as they have struggled to score tries due to an injury-ravaged backline.
The defending champions have scored just 18 tries in 10 matches, with three their most in any single game, as they sit ninth on the table.
Now nine points behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference, the Reds need to win five of their last six matches to guarantee a play-off berth.
With a home win over the table-topping Chiefs seen as crucial on Sunday, particularly when the Brumbies get a four-point boost from a bye, Wallabies centre Faingaa said the Reds were aiming to break the try-scoring rot.
“We have to keep believing and get bonus points and win games,” he said at Brisbane Airport on Monday.
“I think it’s something we need to look into but we have to get the win first.
“We have to get bonus points … and we have to do what we can to get bonus points.”
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie underlined that plans for victory wouldn’t be compromised by mindless attack but was confident his team’s all-round play was clicking back into gear through the return of sidelined players.
“(Four tries) happen if you play well enough across the game,” he said. “I think if you go out there and try to construct that from minute one, you’ll be behind.
“You’ve got to get in front on the scoreboard and stay in front.”
In his first run-on start in 10 weeks, the fast-rushing Faingaa was highly influential in keeping the Crusaders tryless in an impressive defensive display in the 15-11 loss on Sunday when their attack was hampered by a string of breakdown penalties.
“I feel like that momentum is starting to shift and I think it’s coming our way,” he said.
“I thought some of the stuff we did yesterday was encouraging but obviously we have a few areas to improve on.
“I’m gutted by the loss, we should have come away from Christchurch with a win.”
While the previously red-hot Crusaders backline was kept quiet, the Reds know they have just as big an assignment at Suncorp Stadium to break the Chiefs’ nine-match winning streak.
Sonny Bill Williams has struck up a fine combination with fellow All Black Richard Kahui in the centres but it’s flyhalf Aaron Cruden, in career-best form, who McKenzie rates as more influential.
“They’re playing well as a team,” the coach said.
“They’ve got a good culture going.
“They’re the benchmark side. It’s a good challenge for us at Suncorp.”© AAP 2014