The Queensland Reds have turned to rugby league’s State of Origin for some Maroon inspiration as they plot a monumental Super Rugby Pacific upset in Christchurch.
Coach Brad Thorn boasts genuine insight into the opposition as a former title-winner with the Crusaders.
But captain Tate McDermott said Thorn had leant on his 14-game Origin career instead ahead of their knockout quarter-final on Friday.
“The brawls, the big hits, the atmosphere around Origin and what it means to be a Queenslander have been the key themes of the week,” McDermott said.
“We won’t see a biff, but you’ll definitely see a bit of niggle; once we say we’re not taking a backward step we’re a far better side.
“So the boys have got licence to really go out there and give it a good rattle.”
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The Reds have relished the atmosphere and constant heckling they’ve received in the rugby-mad New Zealand city since losing to the Crusaders last weekend.
The Crusaders are $1.06 favourites to win an 11th-straight game against Thorn’s side, while the Reds have also lost their last 19 games away from home against New Zealand opposition and not won in Christchurch since 1999.
But they’ve been competitive in their last two trips there, winning the second half of last week’s game and scoring four tries to three in a four-point loss two year ago.
“No-one expects us to win, particularly over here,” McDermott said.
“But not too many teams get two cracks in consecutive weeks.
“We know we’re underdogs and were loving that title … no-one expects us to do anything.
“Everywhere you go there’s someone throwing chat or wanting a photo with some of the bigger names.
“Over here (compared to Brisbane) it’s another level of people who know about rugby and that it’s Crusaders v Reds on Friday.”