With my old Western Force cap on, I sat down on Friday night and watched the Queensland Reds struggle to beat an ordinary Stormers side.
Afterwards the thought crossed my mind that the current Force team would would have beaten the Reds on the day.
I think the Force would beat the Reds in the tight forwards. With Western Australia-born and bred scrumming machine Kieran Longbottom at tighthead and All Black Jeremy Thrush leading the lineouts, I am convinced that the current Force would have been more than matched for the Smith brother-led Reds in the set pieces on Friday night.
The Reds were hopeless in those rolling mauls close to the try line, which is a real strength of the Force.
The Reds loose forwards of Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto would be well matched by the Force trio of Tevin Ferris, Chirs Alcock and Brynard Stander
At scrum half, I have to admit I was very impressed with young Tate McDermott, who had a great game as a nippy running scrumhalf. Skipper Ian Prior for the Force is a dead-eyed Dick at shots at the goal, but I did like Tate McDermott on Friday night.
But at flyhalf, I would prefer Andrew Deegan for the Force over Bryce Hegarty. Deegan is almost the complete flyhalf for me at running, kicking and tackling. Only question for me is can Deegan kick the points like Bryce Hegarty, because Prior or Jack McGregor always take the set shots for the Force.
Talking about Jack McGregor, what a wonderful runner of the ball from fullback. With Deegan entrenched at flyhalf for the Force, Jack is now reminding me of Damian McKenzie – an unpredictable running fullback who cannot get a game at flyhalf for the Blacks because of Beauden Barrett.
At centre for Queensland, skipper Samu Kerevi is hard to stop, but his offloading of the ball let his side down on Friday night. I don’t rate the rest of the Reds backs, but it was nice to hear the commentators saying that Jack Hardy for the Reds on the wing came via the Western Australia development path
In the coaching box, I think the Brad Thorn-coached team team lacked ideas about how to score tries. On Friday they scored two converted tries while the Stormers’ best tackling player and captain was yellow carded for ten minutes. Remembering that that the Stormers had three tries turned down on review by inches, so I think the Reds were lucky.
It is ironic that probably the best team in Australia at moment is the Rebels, with former Reds stars Quade Cooper and Will Genia making all the plays. They are well supported by a bunch of former Force players and Force coaches.