Reds coach Brad Thorn says his team will continue to work to become a ruthless team after letting an opportunity slide against the Highlanders last week.
Of all the positives to come from Queensland’s 36-31 loss in Dunedin, the greatest could be their refusal to accept the result as any kind of victory.
In a new era for the Reds, Thorn is determined to build a successful culture and near enough will not be good enough.
“We competed and there were lots of positives but we didn’t get the result we wanted and there was disappointment around that,” Thorn said.
“But we work hard again this week.
“The boys put in a big effort there, we had the edge at the end but it’s about putting the foot on the throat and we missed that opportunity.
“We’ll continue to work to get that ruthlessness as a team.”
It’s something that has not been lost on Reds supporters, with John Eales mentioning the current team this week as a statue to celebrate his impact on the game was unveiled at Suncorp Stadium.
“I loved watching the effort and the performance of the guys on Friday night and I think a lot of Queenslanders drew great heart from that,” Eales said.
“It’s a great start but I think the greatest part of that is we saw what’s potentially in store for the Reds this year but also in the future.
“The Reds performance, they would have been incredibly disappointed and dissatisfied with losing a game that they could have won but you could tell that there was a lot of belief.”
Thorn is expecting a tight battle against the Crusaders scrum this week and the front row selection will be interesting, with JP Smith likely to be considered after recovering from a knee injury.
Rookie Feao Fotuaika’s efforts in his Super Rugby debut were outstanding and it will be tough to push him from the starting pack.
Scott Higginbotham (shoulder) is also available for selection for Saturday’s clash against the defending champions at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds have an enormously demanding start to the season, with the Crusaders clash followed by games against the Waratahs in Sydney and Sunwolves in Tokyo before they return to Brisbane to take on the Brumbies.
While Thorn’s team is determined to write its own legacy, Eales said he was aware of the pressure on the current players to live up to the deeds of the past.
“They’re the ones who bear the legacy of the past and they’re the ones who have to go out there week-in, week-out and put their reputations on the line,” he said.
“It’s easy for us to look back in history and say, that’s what we did, but time’s change and it’s always tough.”
The Reds take on the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, March 2, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT (6:45pm local) LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au radio.