A bit more polish at the vital moments and the Queensland Reds can spring a Super Rugby upset over the Stormers this weekend, Liam Gill says.
Fresh from 41-22 loss to the Lions at Loftus Versfeld, the Reds take on the Stormers, South Africa’s standout franchise so far this season, on Saturday night (AEST) in their final match on tour.
Backrower Gill believes the Reds are capable of returning to Brisbane with what would be just their second win of the season, but only if they can learn to convert their chances.
Queensland rallied from a 19-point deficit to trail the Lions 27-22 midway through the second half but were ultimately overrun, falling back down to earth with a thud following their shock upset of the champion Highlanders.
“It was a classic Bulls performance. They got a bit of a roll-on and bullied us around the park a little bit,” Gill said.
“It was a game we were certainly in up until about the 75th minute.
“We just need to be a little bit more clinical in those big moments. We get ourselves in games and in good situations, we just have to execute and build that pressure.
“If a few things we were a little bit better at, we could have easily won that game.”
The Stormers have won five out of their seven games to emerge as the competition’s best South African side, approaching the halfway mark of the season.
But they were beaten 29-22 by the Lions at the weekend, and the Reds have won only twice before at DHL Newlands in eight attempts.
“Newlands is very tough to play at, almost as tough as Pretoria,” Gill said.
“We understand it’s going to be very similar to last week. The crowd gets behind them, if the team gets a roll-on they’re almost impossible to stop.”
The Reds will be compelled into making at least one change with No.8 Jake Schatz set to miss at least the next month of rugby due to a medial ligament strain in his knee.
Flanker Michael Gunn has been flown over to South Africa as his replacement.
But Schatz’s injury means a likely debut for highly-rated former Broncos NRL junior Caleb Timu, a former Australian schoolboys star who joined the Reds last week, when they host the Cheetahs on May 1.
Timu can play at No.6 or No.8 and was brought in partly to help apply selection pressure upon Schatz and the rest of Queensland’s back row options.