Can Reds avoid another thrashing at hands of Crusaders?

Nick Frisby of the Reds. Photo / Getty
Nick Frisby of the Reds. Photo / Getty

Nick Frisby says the Reds are determined to show how much they have improved in a year since the embarrassment of their epic crash in Christchurch.

Having every aspect of their game pressure-tested by the confident Crusaders could turn into a mugging if the Reds fail to front as they did for last year's 58-17 capitulation.

Wallabies contender Frisby is certain the team's attitude to repel a side loaded with 10 All Blacks is vastly improved but showing it is the important thing.

"That was a real tough night last year, an embarrassment with the worst dressingroom feeling I've been involved in," Frisby said.

"For all of us, this game can be a sign of how far we've come in a year because this team is a completely different beast with a real attitude about it."

Halfback Frisby's form has been a big part of the encouraging signs at the Reds with his four try strikes, sharp support play, try-saving tackles, sure passing and improved late-game kicking.

With Kiwi Alby Mathewson (Force) and Argentinian Tomas Cubelli (Brumbies) not in contention, Frisby and Melbourne's Nick Stirzaker are jockeying for Wallabies squad selection behind Will Genia and Nick Phipps.

Frisby sat an exam in data analysis on Wednesday for his QUT business degree and the proud number he analysed was his route to Friday's 50th game for the Reds.

"I remember my first as a replacement on the wing, I've played fullback and was at five-eighth in Christchurch last year so it's been a rollercoaster 50 at times," Frisby said.

"I'm really pleased to have strung together nine games at halfback this year because I've got in a rhythm myself and with the combination building with Jake (McIntyre) at five-eighth."

Frisby, 23, said his form improvement had coincided with a switch in focus.

"At the start of the season, I was more focused on playing a senior role, organising plays and controlling the team," he said.

"I've focused more on playing my own game over the last six weeks and I think my game has improved as Jake's has and vice versa.

"I love Jake's confidence and follow-me attitude because he believes in his calls and that they are going to win us the game."

The Reds have a popgun bench compared to the loaded Crusaders replacements who have the ability to swarm all over the Reds in the final 20 minutes through All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty and Co.

Reds co-coach Matt O'Connor admitted the Reds had not played an 80-minute game all season but it had to be delivered.

"We are playing a team that is back to their best Crusaders rugby and it demands an 80-minute performance from us which we are yet to put out," O'Connor said.

He said tall teenage outside centre Campbell Magnay, 19, was ready for the cauldron.

"He's young, enthusiastic and has a tough physical edge for this," O'Connor said.

"Losing (Samu) Kerevi as a strike weapon is a massive loss (with a broken hand) but we have Eto (Nabuli), Chrissy (Feauai-Sautia), Karmichael (Hunt) and Campbell to step up to get us going forward."

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 24 Feb 2017 19:18:12 Processing Time: 488ms