Queensland Reds centre Anthony Fainga’a says history means little as the embattled Super Rugby side attempt to end their five-match losing streak against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
No Australian Super Rugby team has won a regular season match at Loftus Versfeld since 2007.
The Reds, who have only ever won twice at the venue, last tasted success there in 2001 when Nathan Spooner’s 14-point haul helped the Reds to a 29-19 win.
The Reds head into the match with just a single win to their name from round two against the Western Force and without injured pair Quade Cooper (shoulder) and Jake Schatz (elbow).
The Bulls however sit top of the South African conference with four wins and three losses and have scored 186 points in their seven matches to the Reds competition-low 71.
Fainga’a admits the Reds must focus on getting their own house in order rather than worrying about their opponents or the venue.
“There’s always a history behind every time you play … there hasn’t been an Australian team that’s won here since 2007,” he said.
“We haven’t won a game for a couple of games now, so this just gives us more motivation.
“We want to get out there, do ourselves proud, do our families proud and also our fans. We need to get our backyard right first and then worry about the history.
“Everything else will flow on from that.”
The Reds’ effort in last weekend’s loss to the Rebels in Melbourne after former captain James Horwill was red-carded in the first half was gutsy considering the time they spent a man short.
But Fainga’a knows with Bulls five-eighth Handre Pollard more than willing to punish any penalties the Reds concede in the thin air of South Africa’s Highveld, similar ill-discipline cannot be tolerated on Saturday.
“It’s no lie that these guys are kicking footballs from 60 (metres) out so for us, we need to make sure our discipline is spot on,” he said.
“We have to have a really good defensive line. They’re big guys, so we have to put them down on the ground.
“Our work-rate and defence has to be rock solid. That’s our starting point and we work back from that.”