Bleeding Reds hope Gill can lift gloom
April 27, 2014
A strong second-half display saw the Hurricanes beat Queensland in Wellington (video in Australia only)
The Queensland Reds are poised to rush Wallabies breakaway Liam Gill back from injury as they attempt to dig their way out of a deepening Super Rugby hole. Gill tore his hamstring five weeks ago but is with the Reds in New Zealand and looms as a crucial reinforcement for Friday night's Eden Park clash with the Blues.
Queensland are also sweating on results of scans to Will Genia's ankle after the Test half-back limped off Wellington's Westpac Stadium in their 35-21 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday night. It was their third straight defeat - their worst streak since 2009 - and a performance which offered little comfort for fans worrying they've seen the end of an era.
The 2011 champions have fallen with a huge thud since the departure of former coach Ewen McKenzie and now sit a gloomy last on the Australian conference. While early signs were concerning as the Reds started 2-2 in a tough opening month, they've unravelled since Gill was a casualty in the controversial 23-20 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg.
The 15-Test openside, among the best ball pilferers in the business, has been sorely missed as Queensland's defensive system has disintegrated. It was a bedrock of their success in the past three seasons, and a major strength in 2013 when they were four points - less than one try - from being the best defensive team of the competition.
Head coach Richard Graham had defence coaching responsibilities under McKenzie in 2013 and argued the problem stemmed from players failing to trust the system. Rookie winger Jamie-Jerry Taulagi was twice exposed in the first half for Cory Jane to stroll over, but the damage had initially been done before his poor reads.
The Reds have now conceded 10 tries in their last three losses and are the third-worst defensive team in the competition.
"We have to believe the defensive system is a strength, because the solution is ultimately in the group," Graham told AAP. "And individuals are not going to get you the result."
With pressure growing for an immediate turnaround, Graham is giving little away about potential changes. "It's fair to say we have a lot of work to do," he said.
Communication error please reload the page.
Alex Marshall and Paul Foster had the honour of securing Scotland's record-breaking 12th gold medal at the Commonwealth Games - eclipsing the previous high of 11 at Melbourne 2006
Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea "need" a player of Didier Drogba's mental stature if they are to challenge for the Premier League title this season
Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Calum Chambers from Southampton in a deal which could rise to £16 million
Manchester United are continuing to monitor the possibility of a move for Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria, but sources have told ESPN the player would favour a move to Paris Saint-Germain
European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has withdrawn from the USPGA Championship, claiming a shoulder injury leaves him unable to prepare for the tournament