Rugby: Braid's inside knowledge gives Reds the Blues

Daniel Braid has the inside story on the Reds. Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Braid has the inside story on the Reds. Photo / Getty Images

All Black Daniel Braid is an extremely proud former Red but he's plotting to give them the Super 15 semifinal Blues on Saturday night.

Reunited with the Auckland franchise he played six seasons with before two years in Queensland, Braid will start off the Blues bench at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane but his influence will be noticeable from kick-off.

The 30-year-old was a key figure in developing the young Reds pack in 2009 and 2010 and an industrious link-man between the forwards and talented halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper.

He said he would definitely provide valuable intelligence in the Blues' planning.

Braid missed the Reds' entertaining 37-31 win over the Blues six weeks ago with a serious neck injury which also ruled him out of strategy sessions.

"I was laid up with my neck at that stage and didn't have the opportunity to come in and help out," he said.

"This time we'll be geared up for it.

"There's a few things that Quade and Will like to do and we'll have a look at some video and listen for the calls."

As well as Braid's insights, the Blues are confident of turning the tables with an earlier arrival - learning from a delayed match-eve flight which skipper Keven Mealamu admitted hurt them as the Reds racked up an early 24-0 lead.

The six-test All Black made his return from injury late in the Blues' 26-13 elimination final triumph over NSW and again expects to play second fiddle to younger brother Luke, who has ably filled his No 7 jersey.

"I'm a proud big brother, he's been playing outstanding this year."

Braid also feels the same about Queensland's resurgent team, relishing their rise to the minor premiership from across the Tasman.

"I do have a lot of pride with what we did last year - turning around a side that was second to last. They have grown again, and it's great to see."

Braid's return home hit the Reds hard in the opening two rounds but Beau Robinson gained a round-three start and proved a revelation.

Robinson will again boost the Reds in the semifinal when he makes his return from a dislocated elbow.

"He's slotted in very well," Braid said. "It just shows the structure the team's got there. With Quade and Will running the show they're playing some great rugby and the big difference is just the consistency."

- AAP

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