Is losing to the Japanese Sunwolves not disgrace enough? Well, then, make the loss by the score of 63 – 28 and you might get some idea of the task the Queensland Reds face when they fly to Wellington to play the Hurricanes.
It would seem as though the 20-point margin favouring Wellington might be easy for them to cover.
On the positive side of the ledger, the Reds are expecting Duncan Paia’aua to be in the backline, filling in for centre Chris Feauai-Sautia, who is sitting out due to a head knock that hopefully left him with no recollection of what happened in Tokyo.
Feauai-Sautia is running out of time to demonstrate a recovery sufficient enough for him to play Friday.
As for Paia’aua, he was relegated when Reds’ Coach Brad Thorn decided it was necessary to beef up the centre. If he is to gain more playing time, he is going to need to stick his tackles, as the free-running Hurricanes do not ground easily.
Someone will also have to stop Ben Lam, the surprise discovery who leads the 2018 Super Rugby League competition with 12 tries.
The Reds have also had to deal with the absence of their skipper Scott Higginbotham, who has been limited all season for various reasons, including injury and suspension.
Bouncing back from the Japanese trouncing would seem to be the primary objective for the Reds this round, but expecting Queensland to break the Aussie duck against the Kiwis might be a case of excessively inflated expectations, to say the very least.
The Reds are currently in third position in the Australian Conference, while the Sunwolves are far down, their only win of the season at the Reds’ expense.
The Hurricanes are second in the powerful New Zealand Conference, almost equal to the leading Crusaders, whose lead rests mainly on having played one game more than the Hurricanes.