Reds vice-captain Will Genia says his forwards will breathe fire against the Stormers after copping South African barbs.
Queensland general Will Genia has promised the Reds’ maligned pack will unleash fury on Saturday night after the Stormers received South African intelligence to outmuscle them up front.
Genia was stunned to hear Lions coach Johan Ackermann told a Johannesburg newspaper the Stormers should attack the Reds’ front row at Suncorp Stadium, claiming they break scrum laws when pressured.
Ackermann, whose side were lucky to escape with a controversial 23-20 win over Queensland last weekend, also said the visitors should wreak havoc with driving mauls from lineouts.
He warned Stormers counterpart Allister Coetzee to be wary about Genia and halves partner Quade Cooper, but otherwise said they’d have their measure.
“The Reds do not have the strongest front row and start bending the rules when you put them under pressure at scrum time,” Ackermann told Die Burger.
Genia exploded when he heard the slight on Queensland’s forwards, throwing the accusations back at Ackermann – especially as a seven-man Reds pack drove the Lions back in late scrums on their line but weren’t rewarded by local referee Stuart Berry.
“I’m pretty sure we should have earned a penalty in at least one of those three scrums we had on our five-metre line,” the Wallabies halfback told AAP. “If he (Ackermann) wants to talk about bending the rules, he should have a look at his own backyard.”
With the Stormers always set to play a tight, physical game in the wet and aim to outmuscle Queensland at the set-pieces, Ackermann’s advice would barely register with Coetzee.
But it won’t be missed by the home side’s tight-forwards, who continue to be painted as weak links.
“We’ve had that perception for years, and we may not be the strongest, but that’s because we’re not the biggest,” Genia said.
“Guys take that to heart. If they want to come out and say that then good on them because I can tell you the boys will definitely be fired up for the contest.”
Like the Reds (2-3), the Stormers (1-4) are an angry, desperate side following three straight losses against the Crusaders, Chiefs and Brumbies in a tough road trip.
While Coetzee has made seven changes, Queensland must overcome the losses of Liam Gill (hamstring), Aidan Toua (pectoral surgery) and Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring).
But they are taking heart in their record following trips back from South Africa – winning their return game at Suncorp Stadium during the past four seasons.
“I think we just really enjoy coming back home and playing at Suncorp, and it’s a place we get a lot of confidence from,” Genia said.