The Reds will be aiming to book a home Final when they face the Blues in the first of the Super Rugby semifinals at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.
The team from Queensland have been in dominant form this season and their home ground has become something of a stronghold, with the table-topping outfit enjoying the best support of any Australian team in the competition.
They have been consistently competitive throughout the season and were rewarded with the week off last week, so they will be ready to fire as they welcome back key players Beau Robinson, Digby Ioane and Anthony Faingaa from injury.
The Reds have shown an impressive ability to adapt their game to their opposition and with the confidence gained from losing only three games this season they will go into this game as deserved favourites.
They face the Blues who threatened to deliver on their undoubted potential by racing to the top of the standings halfway through the season but then a slump of form meant that they had to beat off the challenge of the Waratahs in their play-off at Eden Park last week.
Despite their erratic performances at times this season the Blues have proven that they can never be taken lightly as they have a number of top quality players, and if they click they can be hard to stop.
The Men from Auckland have got an impressive pack full of All Blacks and some exciting outside backs that can easily make something of nothing and they will be relishing the opportunity to knock the much-fancied Reds out of the competition.
The 37-31 defeat to the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in May signalled the start of a four-match losing streak for the Blues and coach Pat Lam is excited by this unique opportunity to exact swift revenge.
He commented: "Normally it takes a year to get your chance to hit back after a loss, you think 'alright next time we come here we'll do this,' so to get the opportunity to do it a month later is brilliant.
"The key for us is going there a month ago has its advantages as we've learned a lot of lessons," said Lam.
That clash was a thriller with the Reds sprinting out to an early 24-0 lead only for the Blues to haul them back in with some scintillating attacking rugby. The home team then managed to close it out with a typically strong finish to the game and Lam knows that nothing less than an 80 minute performance will be good enough on Saturday.
"Obviously the start was a big issue for us and that's something that we'll be looking to address but all in all, it's just great to be at this end of the competition," he said.
The Blues boss revealed that his team have changed their travel plans this time around in order to ensure that they give themselves the best chance possible to reverse the result.
He noted: "Probably one thing we've changed is that we went there on a Friday last time but we decided we'd go on Thursday and give ourselves a day extra to adjust to the time change.
"That's just one example of many that we have as to how we've made adjustments going back to Brisbane for the second time around," explained Lam.
Players to watch:
For the Reds: Big No.8 Radike Samo has had a great season and he will look to get his team on the front foot with some strong running. Wallaby halfback pair Will Genia and Quade Cooper will be out to dictate play and free up some space out wide for one of their outside backs like the explosive Digby Ioane.
For the Blues: Skipper Keven Mealamu will want to lead from the front and he will be ably supported by the physically intimidating Jerome Kaino as the Blues pack attempt to stamp their authority on proceedings. Veteran lock Ali Williams has been in some good form lately and if he can disrupt the Reds at line-out time then the Blues will look to unleash some of their devastating runners such as Jared Payne or Joe Rokocoko.
Head to head: It is difficult to look past the key match-up at halfback in this one. The Blues inside backs have been a weak link for them this season with both Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister spending time at flyhalf with mixed results. The Reds on the other hand have arguably the most dangerous halfback combination in the competition and if the visitors are to have any chance then they will need to pile the pressure on Will Genia and Quade Cooper.
2011: Reds won 37-31, Brisbane
2010: Blues won 27-18, Brisbane
2009: Reds won 31-24, North Harbour
2008: Blues won 35-22, Brisbane
2007: Blues won 38-13, Auckland
2006: Blues won 21-20, Brisbane
rugby365.com Prediction: The Blues have got plenty of classy players and if they put it together on the day they have the ability to beat any team but it will be a tall order against a rested Reds outfit playing at home in front of their expectant fans. The Reds have played good rugby this season but they have also shown incredible mental strength in closing out a number of tight games and that experience will be crucial in this knock-out game. We are backing the Reds to win by more than seven points.
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Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Will Chambers.
Blues: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro/Rene Ranger, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Chris Lowrey, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Charlie Faumuina.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 James King/Mat Luamanu, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Ranger/Munro, 22 Winston Stanley/Sherwin Stowers.
Date: Saturday, July 2
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.40 (09.40 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be mostly fine with a 20 percent chance of showers. High of 20°C
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
By Michael de Vries
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