Holmes expecting physical Queensland homecoming
Having represented the Queensland Reds a staggering 144 times between 2005-2016 in the Super Rugby competition, Greg Holmes believes this week’s clash at Suncorp has “reinvigorated” him.
“It’s a new challenge that’s been driving me throughout this week knowing that I’m coming up against the Reds,” Holmes said.
“I’m really excited for it. All my family are here [in Queensland], I’m not sure they’ll be able to get to the game because of COVID restrictions, but it’d be great to get my Dad down there, he hasn’t been to a live game for four years now with me playing overseas,” he added.
The 27-time capped Wallaby, who made his Western Force debut last week against the Waratahs in the club’s first Super Rugby AU appearance since 2017, is expecting a “physical” encounter against the Reds.
“As a front row we’ve got a lot of focus on their scrum. Up front they’re very tough, so if we can nullify that threat, it will go a long way to winning the game,” Holmes noted.
Forwards Coach Van Humphries, who himself played 54 times for the Reds, echoed Holmes’ thoughts.
“They’ve got a big forwards pack, so they love to muscle up,” Humphries said.
“Being the Reds, they’ve sent a message at scrum time in the last couple of years, and they’ve got some really skilful backs on top of that, so we’re really looking forward to a strong contest,” he added.
With over 200 Reds appearances to their names, both Holmes and Humphries will find themselves in a unique position on Friday.
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week,” Holmes said. “I’ve never been in the visitors change rooms before, but it’s a new experience and that’s why you play the game,” Holmes said.
“There are few place in Australia quite like Suncorp Stadium, it’s a great pitch and you’ve got the fans right on top of you,” Humphries stated.
“There’s an emotional touch for Greg and I being there as opposition rather than the home team, but we’re expecting a really good derby.”
The pair are relishing life in the hub, citing a real positive environment and energy within the squad since jetting over east.
“There’s much worse places to be than surrounded by vineyards and staying in a resort,” Humphries said.
“It’s been great, especially with new guys coming in, it gives us more of a chance to get to know each other better. We’ve had a really good weeks’ worth of training an everything’s going smoothly,” Holmes added.
The Force take on the Queensland Reds this Friday night at Suncorp Stadium from 5:05pm (AWST), live on Fox Sports and Kayo.