Test backrow battle looms large ahead of QLD-ACT double header in Brisbane

Mon, Mar 25, 2024, 6:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Queensland flanker Fraser McReight is putting last week's error-riddled loss behind him ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby double header in Brisbane.

The Reds host ACT Brumbies in both Super Rugby Women's and Super Rugby Pacific this weekend with both Queensland sides coming off away losses to the Western Force.

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The Reds men looked a shadow of their Rounds 1-4 selves at HBF Park, giving up a 28-7 lead before falling 40-31 while the women couldn't stop the Force running out 24-14 victors.

"We just weren't able to capitalise and we piggybacked them down the field. They were really clinical in their A-zone being able to execute and get some points on the board," McReight said of the men's Round 5 Super Rugby Pacific loss.

"It's a tough one but we've learnt some lessons and we'll re-group."

The 17-cap Wallaby admitted his side were far from their best in Perth and identified their set-piece and preparation away from home as key improvement areas.

"We're still building into the season you know. Look at our maul, we probably should've had a maul try there. Our scrum could be a lot better, our lineout could be a lot better," McReight told media on Monday.

"It's on the road where its going to be very challenging, we've got some tough opponents coming up on the road, going to NZ, going to Fiji.

"It's a great test and we've just got to learn how the group goes together on away trips, how we can better prepare ourselves."

Queensland have plenty of time to prepare for their next away game - a Round 8 trip to Whangarei to face Moana Pasifika - with fixtures in Christchurch (Round 11) and Suva (Round 13) also in the pipeline.

However, all eyes are on Saturday's Round 6 clash with the Brumbies with McReight eager to tackle ACT's in-form loose forward unit.

Rookie Charlie Cale has been a standout for the Canberrans with the likes of Wallaby duo Tom Hooper and Rob Valetini offering plenty of starch in tight.

"They're very athletic aren't they? Brumbies have a great backrow, they always have. I think it's going to be a great match-up on the weekend," McReight said.

"Obviously Charlie's a pretty new player to Super Rugby but he's so athletic, fast and strong, and good at the lineout.

"They've got a good combination and balanced backrow and it's a good test for us (and) an awesome weekend for it coming into easter, lots of family and friends can hopefully get to Suncorp and watch four hours of good footy.

"The women are playing good footy and really want to get their first win so expecting a big crowd to come and support the Reds.

"It's always been such a close game, fortunately for them they were able to knock us over last year at Suncorp which is probably still hurting a few of us, so really really looking forward to this weekend."

This weekend's Reds-Brumbies double-header at Suncorp Stadium kicks off with the Super Rugby Women's clash at 4:05pm before the Super Rugby Pacific clash at 6:35pm. Tickets available here.

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