Despite their formidable record at Suncorp Stadium this season Reds captain James Horwill has conceded that his team will have to be at their absolute best if they are to win their first Super Rugby title this weekend. Will Cooper magic suit the Wallabies? | More news...
The Reds have won 13 of their 16 home games in the last two seasons but it is the seven-time champions Crusaders who head into the decider in Brisbane on Saturday as the bookmakers' favourites.
Horwill admitted that the Canterbury team's proven track record in knock-out rugby means that they deserve that title, and added that his team will have to produce their best performance of the season if he is to lift the trophy in front of a packed home crowd this weekend.
He told AAP: "The fact that they have won seven titles before probably lets them have that space. But that is fine. We don't pay much attention to that sort of stuff.
"We know they have been there, done that. They are seasoned at that level and they have Test players throughout the side. It is a two-horse race on Saturday and we have to play our best game of the year to win. But I think they will be thinking the same thing," he said.
The Reds have looked in control all season and the support they have enjoyed at home is as much down to the entertaining brand of rugby they have played as the winning culture they have fostered.
But there is one final hurdle to clear if they are to complete a remarkable revival which has seen them go from second-last no-hopers in 2009 to potential champions in just two seasons, and Horwill says that they don't come much bigger than this.
"It is probably the biggest game for Queensland that I have ever been a part of. If this isn't close to a Test match I don't know what is," he said.
One thing that gives the Reds skipper confidence ahead of the pivotal clash is his side's proven ability to adapt their game to the opposition that they are faced with. Horwill believes that this versatility will be key to securing a second win over the team from Christchurch this season.
He explained: "One of our greatest assets has been able to change the way we play. We are not one trick ponies. We can adapt to the game, the opposition and the conditions.
"It is something we are pretty proud of. We have the belief that no matter what situation we find ourselves in we can get out of it," he said.
One player who will be crucial to the Reds' plans of dictating matters this weekend will be playmaker Quade Cooper, and Horwill is confident that the Wallaby flyhalf has what it takes to produce another commanding performance in the pressure of a Final.
"You will struggle to find a more laidback bloke than Quade. He doesn't get too stressed about anything no matter what the game is. But this is a big game. It is definitely more than just another Super Rugby match," he said.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.