Reds target Cruden as Chiefs danger

By Jim Morton,

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    The SBW show will attract Brisbane’s biggest Super Rugby crowd of 2012 on Sunday but it’s Chiefs five-eighth Aaron Cruden who the Queensland Reds will watch most closely.

    While Sonny Bill Williams has enjoyed a successful transition from the Crusaders to the Waikato-based pacesetters, the defending champions will target rising All Black Cruden as the dangerman at Suncorp Stadium.

    Reds halfback Will Genia admitted Cruden was more influential than former NRL star Williams and in red-hot form after guiding the Chiefs to nine straight wins.

    A former New Zealand under-20s star, the 23-year-old has delivered on his huge potential thanks to an unexpected World Cup call-up following injuries to All Blacks playmakers Dan Carter and Colin Slade.

    “He’s obviously taken a lot of confidence from the World Cup last year and now he’s playing exceptionally well,” Genia said on Wednesday.

    “He’s got the luxury of having guys like Sonny Bill and (Richard) Kahui and (Lelia) Masaga outside him, which would make any team’s job a lot easier – that’s not to take any credit away from him.

    “He’s definitely a massive threat for us moving into this game and we just have to make sure we do our homework on him.”

    Cruden and Williams both arrived at the Chiefs this year from other New Zealand franchises and immediately struck up a match-winning 10-12 combination under the tutelage of former All Blacks attacking guru Wayne Smith.

    Drawcard Williams’ presence has Reds’ officials expecting a 35,000-plus crowd on Mothers’ Day – breaking their previous best mark this season of 34,126 for the round-three match against the Melbourne Rebels.

    Although he’s continued to showcase his brilliant line-breaking and offloading with the Chiefs, Queensland will fancy their chances of nullifying the dual international at Suncorp.

    Reds’ centre Anthony Faingaa quelled the red-hot Robbie Fruean in Christchurch while the Queensland backline twice last year kept Williams quiet in epic home wins over the Crusaders.

    “There was a big deal made about Sonny when we played the Crusaders last year but all you have to do is tackle low and make sure you do your best to stop the offload and I guess you nullify that threat,” Genia said.

    Coming off a gut-wrenching 15-11 loss to the Crusaders, ninth-placed Queensland are viewing Sunday’s match as a must-win for their play-off chances.

    Wallabies halfback Genia actually believes the Reds can’t afford to lose any of their last six matches, as the Brumbies sit nine points clear on the Australian conference.

    “To be a good chance, we have to win the next six which is obviously a tough ask,” he said. “But in saying that, last year we won eight in a row.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • May 10th 2012 @ 6:34am
      Moaman said | May 10th 2012 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      Nit-picking I know but Cruden had an excellent ITM Cup behind him prior to the RWC and I believe that is where his elevated status was founded.Genia’s comment on nullifying the Williams threat–pure (Emporer’s New Clothes)genius!

      • May 10th 2012 @ 8:41am
        AussieKiwi said | May 10th 2012 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Wishful thinking at least re SBW! I am looking forward to this game big time. Cruden has been awesome but it has been the defence of the Chiefs that has really impressed so far (perhaps because it has been surprising!) The Reds are on the up, Genia has obviously had a weight lifted from his shoulders, they have a huge home ground advantage with that crowd – should be a cracker. Lets hope the discussion on Monday is not about the refereeing.

    • May 10th 2012 @ 8:36am
      Red Kev said | May 10th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      The Crusaders game illustrated the Reds’ shortcomings very well – last year the Reds would have found a way to win that game, this year they couldn’t.
      I can’t see them getting up over the Chiefs despite them being due for a loss.

      As for Fainga’a – shutting down SBW and Fruen last year he had Tapuai with him, I am not sure that Harris-Fainga’a is as good a defensive set up (also SBW-Kahui is better than SBW-Fruen).
      Lucas has a big chance to push for Wallabies selection. He performed pretty well against the Crusaders, if he can back it up against the Chiefs he’ll have played two good games against the best 10s NZ has which should boost his chances of making the Wallabies.

      • May 10th 2012 @ 11:21am
        Justin said | May 10th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        If the Kiwis are talking up Taylor then Lucas has to be in the mix doesnt he? He was very good last week.

    • May 10th 2012 @ 9:01am
      Reds all the Way said | May 10th 2012 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      Why is it always about SBW??? The Chiefs have been playing well across the board all season. SBW’s has his moments (and generally overrated at rugby IMO) but not enough for me to go to the game just to watch him for goodness sake. I am going because it is currently the best (and most exciting) team in the comp against a Reds team just starting to show some form – and of course played in the afternoon!!!

    • May 10th 2012 @ 9:25am
      Harry said | May 10th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Looking forward to this game. Red Kev, Harris and Ant are a good defensive combination, they’ll need to be of course marking the Chiefs pair.

      Unfortunately I have to ask this question – anyone know who the ref is? (Please not Bryce, or Kraplan).

      • May 10th 2012 @ 10:27am
        Moaman said | May 10th 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        http://www.superxv.com/news/super15_rugby_news.asp?id=35067 According to this, Marius Jonker is the Ref.

        • May 10th 2012 @ 11:29am
          Red Kev said | May 10th 2012 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          I wonder if Cruden and Lucas will intentionally drop the ball and dare Jonker to blow his whistle for a knock on 😀

        • May 10th 2012 @ 12:27pm
          allblackfan said | May 10th 2012 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          OMG!! The only guy worse than BL!!

    • May 10th 2012 @ 10:07am
      WQ said | May 10th 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      This should be an excellent game of Rugby.
      4 weeks ago you would have been flat out getting a crowd given how the reds were going however you just get the feeling we may have turned a corner even though we are still not winning.
      I think the Reds will be foolish to think that they need only worry about Cruden and that they have SBW’s measure, so far their leading try scorer is Sona Taumalolo!
      A big positive for the Reds is the Chiefs are due for a loss and their last couple of wins I think proves that. They lost a bit of structure in their last couple of games and only excellent scrambling defence kept them on top. A negative for the Reds is that SBW is having an excellent season without actually having an outstanding game yet and I suspect that this may not be far away.

      • May 10th 2012 @ 10:29am
        AussieKiwi said | May 10th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        If SBW reads Genia’s comments, that might tip him from excellent to outstanding!

      • May 10th 2012 @ 11:12am
        Moaman said | May 10th 2012 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        “Due for a loss” by which I presume you mean because of complacency? Apparently they got a rark up from the coaches following their patchy performance against the Lions.Probably the most impressive facet of the Chiefs this year,for me,has been their composure and consistancy.
        I struggle to take much/any of the pre-match posturing seriously but I do think the Reds wouldn’t want to focus on shutting down Cruden to the extent they forget about the other,various threats wider out.It is a backline chock full of menace.

        • May 10th 2012 @ 11:23am
          Justin said | May 10th 2012 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          Certainly is, each player will have to have faith in their inside man in defence. It will be about work rate on defence and attitude.

        • May 10th 2012 @ 4:49pm
          WQ said | May 10th 2012 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

          Statistically anyway Moaman.
          I also think they may have just relaxed a bit over the last few games, possibly lost that edge they have been playing with?
          They will either get themselves up for this or the Reds may get them. Regardless, I think they are on a path to the Super Rugby finals and will be very hard to beat!
          I agree wholeheartedly with your comments re the dangers lurking in their backline. I also think there are plenty of dangers and very powerful ball carriers in the forward pack.

    • May 10th 2012 @ 12:39pm
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | May 10th 2012 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      I thought that the Red’s defence was excellent last week and if they are as good this week they might be in with a show. That’s a big might, but stranger things have happened. They are playing at Suncorp so they will get a bit of a home ground advantage. The forwards worry me though. I don’t think that Slipper and Daley are performing as they were last year. The Reds scrum got smashed a few times last week and it wasn’t Holmes that was the problem Slipper was obliterated by Franks. As I said in a few posts the 2 row needs to push a bit harder that’s were you get some power from. Its OK having some strong props but if you haven’t got some real power from behind them they just get pushed off the ball and once you are going back it’s hard to arrest that motion. If they gain some parity then you might see an upset. Here’s hoping.

      • May 10th 2012 @ 12:51pm
        Red Kev said | May 10th 2012 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        The Reds need a tighthead it’s as simple as that. Slipper is a better loosehead scrummager. Daley just straight up can’t scrummage.
        The Reds need to buy themselves a monster no.3 from overseas and compensate for his low work rate with Slipper and Hanson around the park.

        • May 11th 2012 @ 12:57pm
          MR said | May 11th 2012 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

          After watching last weeks match against the crusaders I don’t think Slipper or Holmes are any better, Daley is far superior around the park and a much better defender. As GRS mentions if he had a better push behind him the scrum may go a bit better. If you haven’t noticed, the Reds strategy revolves around the break down and therefore the back row don’t really commit themselves to the scrum like they should.

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