Reds draw on State of Origin energy for Tahs
RUGBY UNION: The Queensland Reds are harnessing their state's rivalry with New South Wales in the hope it will give them the edge in the Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs on Saturday.
After having the week off, the Reds will resume at Suncorp Stadium, aiming to improve on their dismal 2-6 win-loss record in season 2017 and end a six-game losing streak against NSW.
Reds playmaker Quade Cooper (pictured) said "You can feel the energy coming off” teammate Karmichael Hunt and assistant coach Brad Thorn, both of whom had represented the Maroons in State of Origin.
With the Waratahs also 2-6, both combatants trail conference leaders ACT Brumbies (3-5) as the Aussie combinations jostle for what is expected to be just one finals spot.
The Waratahs will arrive after a 26-24 home to loss to the struggling Kings, who the Reds beat 47-34 before their bye.
"There is a very good opportunity to leapfrog a few teams,” Cooper said of the Reds' finals hopes.
"We can climb our way back up the ladder, and more importantly the conference ladder.
"If all goes well we will be in a good position.”
The Reds are expected to welcome back Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore who was rested from the Kings clash.
The Australian conference winner is guaranteed a playoff place, but Tahs coach Daryl Gibson conceded the Kiwis teams were likely to grab all three Australasian group wildcards.
"We (the five Australian teams) are playing a little mini-competition amongst ourselves and that's, for me, the avenue to the playoffs,” Gibson said.