Triumphant Reds set for new challengeThe Reds celebrate their Super Rugby AU grand final win. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images


The Queensland Reds are desperate to avoid a title-winning hangover in their opening Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match against the Highlanders on Friday night.

Less than a week after winning the Super Rugby AU grand final 19-16 over the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium, the Reds return to action in Dunedin.

Not helping their bid for a winning start to the new competition was a disrupted trip to New Zealand.

With storms delaying their flight on Wednesday, the Reds contingent didn’t arrive in Auckland until after midnight New Zealand time.

Thursday’s second leg of their trip from Auckland to Dunedin was also delayed and the Queenslanders were forced to change planes before leaving.

“It’s been a bit of a journey to get here … but we’re happy to be here and ready to go,” said Reds co-captain Liam Wright, who has been recalled to Queensland’s starting team after being among the replacements in last weekend’s Super Rugby AU decider.

“It’s been something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. There was a lot of conjecture about whether it (Super Rugby Trans-Tasman) would actually go ahead.”

Wright was confident the Reds would be switched on against the Highlanders despite the danger of last Saturday night’s success still being fresh in their minds.

“The symbolism of it is that we’ve locked away that trophy for now. We want to leave it in there and focus on getting some more,” the Wallabies flanker said.

“Now we’re looking to do something else and that starts with the Highlanders this weekend,

“It’s going to be important for us to come out fresh and bring energy, and match it with the Highlanders, and try to throw that first punch as well.

“We’ve got a lot of guys here who are ready to do that and have been looking for that opportunity for a long time. We know they’re going to bring that enthusiasm that we’re after.”



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