Warning over Willie le Roux's ability to dominate a side
QUEENSLAND Reds coach Richard Graham has compared Cheetahs flier Willie le Roux to Waratahs star Israel Folau ahead of tonight's round four Super Rugby game against the South Africans at Suncorp Stadium.
Folau scored two tries in his team's 32-5 win against the Reds last weekend, prompting halfback Will Genia to acknowledge his team's kicking game had allowed the code-hopper too much space to work his magic.
Graham said he hoped his team had learned a valuable lesson from that game, suggesting Springbok representative le Roux was capable of causing similar damage.
"Anywhere he plays he's an outstanding player. Certainly a lot of X-factor," Graham said, adding he expected le Roux to play on the wing.
"If you look at him against the Lions two or three weeks ago, he chip-kicked out of his own 22 four times.
"I think it goes across their team - you've got to expect the unexpected and be mentally engaged in the game for 80 minutes."
The Reds mentor was confident, however, that his midfield of Mike Harris and Chris Feauai-Sautia could nullify any spur-of-the-moment plays that le Roux or his teammates conjured up.
Harris and Feauai-Sautia will start in place of Anthony Fainga'a and Ben Tapuai, who was moved to the reserves bench.
Harris returns after missing last week with an ankle complaint, Graham saying that would help the team's defence.
"Mike's an outstanding defender himself. His work at the tackle and on the ball is very good," Graham said.
"The other night we missed 19 tackles, which is probably about average for a game. They were just a little more costly unfortunately."
In tonight's other game, the Hurricanes will be out to notch their first win of the 21014 season when they host the Brumbies in Wellington.
Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen called on his players to put in a special effort after the devastating news that star flanker David Pocock would miss the rest of the season after undergoing a second knee reconstruction.
Pocock underwent a full reconstruction on the knee on Wednesday night - the same surgery he had last season after rupturing the same ligament in round four of the Super Rugby competition.
Round four draw (home teams first):
Friday: Hurricanes v Brumbies, Reds v Cheetahs; Saturday: Crusaders v Stormers, Force v Rebels, Bulls v Blues, Sharks v Lions. Byes: Chiefs, Waratahs, Highlanders.