The Reds want Payasami’s physique to deal with Wright Munga magic

Liam Wright, co-captain of the Queensland Reds, insisted that his team would not be “star-struck” by the Crusaders’ five-eighth Richie Munger gun at their Super Rugby Pacific showdown in Christchurch.

Mringa missed a 26-15 win against the Reds last week due to a finger injury, but both he and All Black Hooker Cody Taylor will return to the quarterfinals on Friday night.

The Reds will have their own improvement with the return of Wallabis Center Hunter Paisami from a shoulder injury.

The Crusaders set last week’s win against the Reds with an impressive 21-3 lead until halftime.

Munger’s addition is set to be another challenge for the Reds, but Wright is confident he has the ability to deal with his team’s star All Blacks playmaker.

“He’s going to come and make a difference. But we’re not going to be affected by it, and we want to take it to them, “Wright said.

“A lot of their structures surround him, and he’s a great player. He has remarkable footwork. He is very smart when he kicks.

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“But the key is to stay connected to our defensive line. Trying to find influential contacts there.

“We just have to take that space, stay connected to that inner man, and thus not have a huge gap for him to run and use the speed he has.”

Paisami trained on Monday morning and will add invaluable strength and speed to the Reds’ backline.

“Hunter adds that we’re always on the lookout,” Wright said.

“A big tackle like this can really change the pace, get a turnover and bring them down to the other end. He is the one who will be on the defensive line.

Hunter Paisami

Hunter Paisami. (Photo by Albert Perez / Getty Images)

The Reds (8-6) finished fifth in their last six games of the regular season, losing five.

The Crusaders (11-3) finished second with a shock loss to NSW Waratah and finished the campaign with four wins in a row.

Wright said his team has learned valuable lessons from last week’s loss, and they need to eliminate any “aimless” kicks.

“It’s about choosing the right time to go into the kicking battle and making sure we win,” he said.

“We have to make sure that our kicks have a lot of goals and a lot of purpose, not just give them possession and hopefully they will shuffle it.”


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