Queensland rugby’s marketing boffins have needlessly fired up the Bulls by promoting tonight’s clash as a “slaughter” even though the South Africans’ own bragging rights over the Reds in every trophy department.
Jim Tucker writes for The Couriermail that the “Watch Us Slaughter The Bulls” pitch on the QRU’s official website and advertising material is a bizarre show of cockiness ahead of the Suncorp Stadium kick-off.
It doesn’t compute when the Reds were mere seven-point victors a year ago and will still carry the shame of a 92-3 loss to the Bulls in 2007 when rugby is played 100 years from now.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield should detour by the QRU corporate box tonight and slip a simple message under the door: “How many Super Rugby titles have you won?”
The Bulls are the three-time champions (2007 and 2009-10) that the Reds dream of becoming while Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier all swigged from the World Cup with South Africa in 2007.
Such a rev-up is not the style of Reds coach Ewen McKenzie or his players who have the utmost respect for Matfield and his team.
“You can separate marketing jargon from our team focus,” McKenzie said.
“We know we have to be at the top of our game because the Bulls will be motivated without any slogan.
“The Bulls have injected some young guys beside experienced Springboks and there will be a fresh spark of enthusiasm so no way is complacency an issue.”
QRU chief executive Jim Carmichael was unapologetic for the clumsy marketing spin to the game.
“If people are precious about the wording, I’d be disappointed. It’s a fun play on words to get the excitement up and build the crowd which all codes do,” Carmichael said.
“It’s a message about trying to beat them, not being arrogant.”
It’s not the first time the Bulls have been on the receiving end of a QRU promo. In 2002, the QRU hatched an idea to shout everyone in the ground at Ballymore a beer if the Reds racked up 50 points against a Bulls team that didn’t win a game that year.
The Reds ran rampant 48-12 but the QRU was savvy enough to pull out of the show of disrespect even though a loaded XXXX beer truck did arrive on a training day.
Using the speed of finishers Digby Ioane, Luke Morahan and Rod Davies will be some part of the Reds’ game plan tonight. Just as important will be Ioane surging on to an inside pass from Quade Cooper in midfield and the pack giving the backs room.