An expected call-up for former Wallaby Digby Ioane will add extra firepower to a visiting Crusaders side that stirs more nightmares in the Reds ranks than any other team.

The Canterbury-based outfit have averaged six tries and 47 points, when demolishing the Reds four times since they met in the 2013 finals series.

It is a brutal reflection of those inconsistent, tackle-shy Queensland sides, but also a nod to the sparkling skills and finishing of the crowd-pulling Crusaders.

Saturday night's clash at Suncorp Stadium deserves a 25,000-plus fan turnout to judge just how the Reds bounce back from their first adversity of the season.


"How you rally from a setback like that disappointing [26-19] loss to the Force can tell you a lot about a side," Reds coach Nick Stiles said. "Every player should be highly motivated to compete for every minute of this game.

"It's what you have to do against the Crusaders, because if you are not as relentless as they are, you are going to pay."

Crusaders wing-buy Ioane has been hindered by a hip injury, since exploding through four Reds defenders for a trademark try at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens last month.

He made his return in the curtain-raiser last Saturday in Dunedin, before the Crusaders pegged back a 27-6 deficit for a brilliant 30-27 win over the Highlanders.

"I'm fully expecting the Crusaders to give Digby a crack at us," Stiles said of the former Reds favourite.

The Crusaders see Ioane and All Black Seta Tamanivalu as the twin weapons on the wing to replace the loss of 125kg juggernaut Nemani Nadolo this season.

Tamanivalu is already making a huge impact with his offloads, ball-running and those powerful strides through two defenders for the match-winning try against Highlanders.

"The Crusaders have Tamanivalu playing that big, physical wing role like Nadolo did, and we really do have to be alert on defence and not kick needlessly to their back three," Stiles said.

The Reds defence will have to be far better organised when marking roaming wingers coming into the line, because Force flyer Chance Peni carved them up for his early try.

The Reds may ponder a start on the wing for young gun Isaia Perese, now his Super Rugby career is underway with that 15-minute cameo in Perth.

Back spasms forced prop James Slipper off against the Force, but the nine-day gap between games is a blessing and the skipper looks certain to be fit.

The Crusaders' powerful scrum, led by All Blacks rock Owen Franks, steamrolled the Highlanders, so the Reds have to front up big time at their strength.

Young reserve prop Taniela Tupou has most on his plate, after conceding two scrum penalties against the Force.