Aussie franchise reveals mindset to beat NZ Super teams
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Queensland Reds forward Connor Vest has revealed the mindset the squad will have when playing against New Zealand teams in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The Reds lost all six games they played against New Zealand sides last year, including a quarterfinal against the Crusaders, but Vest said they would not be bowed by those results.
“We are doing a lot of work at the moment on resilience and not thinking that the New Zealand teams are better,” Vest said.
“We are just thinking that it is just another rugby team … a team of white jerseys so to speak.
“Week-in and week-out, it doesn’t matter who you are playing. We are going to go out there and play our style of footy, our brand of footy and it is just another team.”
Vest played for Auckland in the National Provincial Championship last year, an experience that taught him plenty.
“It was something I dreamt of playing when I was a young kid. I got over there expecting a lot and got so much more than I expected,” he said.
“The way they play the game is so quick. The way they train is something my body was not used to. Just learning the continuous flow of the game. It is the reason why the All Blacks have been number one for so long.”
The 28-year-old Vest, a lock and flank, played 10 Super Rugby games in 2022.
He made his Super Rugby debut against Fijian Drua.
The Grafton-raised forward impressed coach Brad Thorn and earned a contract extension for 2023.
This year he is keen to learn more from key Reds and take his game to the next level.
“Now I can put my best foot forward to hopefully lock down a starting spot and rip and tear,” he said.
“We’ve got Ryan Smith, Seru (Uru) and Luke Jones. They are all very experienced players. Going up against them day-in and day-out is going to be the key.”
Reds playmaker James O’Connor missed out on a spot in the recent Wallabies 44-man training camp squad but Vest said his input and leadership around the group had been outstanding.
“He has been in rehab for a bit and now he has filtered back into the sessions,” he said.
“He was dropping videos in our group chat at eight o’clock last night. He is running rings around some of the younger boys. It is really good to watch.”