Reds will be tested up front by Crusaders

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Captain Liam Wright said the issues the side had in both their lineout and scrum against the Sharks had been a test and he was determined the side would apply themselves in their preparation for the challenge ahead.

 

"I think our group's still very tight," he told rugby.com.au.

 

"We know what we're capable of and that our systems work and we're ready to put that forward."

 

The side had a tough start to the season and Wright believed they were still in the fight.

 

The defending champion Crusaders were coming off a bye week and Wright said the way the Reds responded to what was ahead of them would be big, especially in the way they prepared.

 

"Everyone only gets to see what happens on Saturdays but I'm going to make sure the boys respond well during the week as well and put everything we can into getting those results," he said.

 

While star playmaker and first five-eighths James O'Connor left the field after rolling his ankle against the Sharks, Wright was confident he would be fit as a result of day-by-day management.

 

"At the moment, he's looking positive to get back on the field but that's something our strength team will look at. At the moment it's not looking too bad."

 

The Brumbies, who beat the Chiefs, and the Rebels, who beat the Highlanders, had recorded rare wins by Australian sides in New Zealand and that was an inspiration for the Reds to aim for.

 

"Obviously our job's pretty hard against the Crusaders and they're playing well too, and got a good rest on the weekend.

 

"I think the main thing the Crusaders do, is they do the simple things well. They don't try to overcomplicate everything but they do the simple things – the ruck, maul, tackle contest, passing – to a very high standard," he said.

 

Reds coach Brad Thorn, a former Crusader, knew the side's mantra well and had tried to educate his players in that way.

 

"We've simplified a lot of our structures this year which has had some results for us. We've got to take it on ourselves as players, no matter the situation in games, we just keep doing our roles well to the best of our ability," he said.

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