Queensland lock Rob Simmons says the Reds’ showdown with the NSW Waratahs is Super Rugby’s State of Origin clash.
The smarting Queensland Reds will carry a State of Origin mindset into their season-ending Super Rugby derby with the NSW Waratahs on Saturday night.
Just like the Maroons trying to avoid a series whitewash in rugby league’s third Origin encounter at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, the Reds are intent on gaining a semblance of redemption against the Waratahs at the same venue four days later.
While the Waratahs have secured the minor premiership and home semi-final, the Reds are well out of contention for the playoffs in 12th place on the competition table.
But Reds and Wallabies lock Rob Simmons said: “It’s same as always – it’s Queensland versus NSW”.
“There’s a few people out there saying it might be a dead rubber.
“I can guarantee you that Saturday night won’t be a dead rubber.
“It’s yet again State of Origin basically for rugby union.”
The Reds will target the Waratahs at the set piece and believe their arch rivals may be particularly vulnerable at the lineout, especially if Kane Douglas is unable to start because of a back injury.
Douglas wasn’t likely to train until at least Thursday, with the Reds expecting super-sized second-rower Will Skelton to start alongside Jacques Potgieter instead.
Simmons partnered Skelton on his Wallabies debut last month and said the 135kg behemoth wasn’t yet regarded as a lineout specialist.
“Skelton probably does weaken it (the NSW lineout) a bit, with (Douglas) pretty good in the lineout,” Simmons said.
“After Stephen Hoiles being the caller, Kano is probably their second go-to so they’ll probably shorten their lineout, go to more five-mans and have big Willie running (in the) midfield.
“I think we’re the No.3 (ranked) lineout, so that’s a place where we try to put pressure on all season.
“We’ll be trying to get to set piece nice and fast, speed things up and basically just try and beat them in every little battle in the forward play so our backs can start running riot.”
Simmons said minimising Skelton’s damaging runs and offloads was a key for the Reds.
“He’ll pose a big challenge. He’s a big unit, a bit of a different player to most second rowers I’ve played,” he said.
“We’re aware of his threats, and their whole forward pack poses threats all over the field.
“So we’ve got to look after their forward pack to stop their backs going forward.”