Blues coach rates Reds showdown as a quarter-final
May 11, 2000

Auckland Blues coach, Gordon Hunter, is looking on his side's clash against the Reds at Ballymore in Brisbane on Saturday night as a quarter-final.

Hunter said this morning that the Blues were in a must-win situation to progress further in the Super 12 competition.

"In my opinion, if we can't win then we don't deserve to be in the semi-finals," he said.

The coach emphasised that no attention had been given to losses in Super 12
matches played against the Reds at Ballymore in 1996 and 1998.

"That means zip to this group of players," he said. "I love going to Ballymore and the team is positive about it. We are looking forward to it.

"We have great respect for our opponents. They played a huge game against the Brumbies in the last round and they are in very good form."

Hunter said Justin Collins had come back into the team as a specialist
openside flanker following his groin injury and that was a positive for the
side. Andrew Blowers will play as the specialist blindside flanker and
Xavier Rush had been retained at No.8 based on the good form he has shown
in the last few rounds.

Eroni Clarke at centre will have a significant role against the Reds'
midfield of Tim Horan and Dan Herbert. Iliesa Tanivula's inclusion on the
right wing would give him the opportunity of making the most of his energy and enthusiasm, and it would allow Joeli Vidiri to come off the bench as an impact player.

Blues captain, Robin Brooke, said the team would target the win and four
points first and foremost, and then look for the bonus points.

"But we cannot be too conservative," he said. "We have to go out and get on with it from the start, and we will, otherwise the game might drift away from us."

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