The Western Force have planned a torrid welcome to Super Rugby for Queensland Reds rookie hooker Albert Anae in Brisbane today.
The converted prop will have his first start in the No.2 jumper, and in a similar scenario against the Brumbies last year line-out supremo Nathan Sharpe was at his towering best.
He intimidated the Brumbies' two inexperienced hookers at their line-outs, took four of their throws and made a huge nuisance of himself to help set up a 27-19 win.
The Force are also planning to pull out the aggressive in-your-face defence that stunned the Reds last year.
They rattled some of the Reds' best in the 21-20 loss at Suncorp Stadium and Force defence coach Phil Blake says the home side can expect more of the same.
"Our mindset's going to be the same. We're going to have really good line speed, unsettle a few of their playmakers and be really aggressive defensively," he said.
The Force need to be more aggressive, particularly in first-phase defence, than they were in the season-opening loss in Canberra last week.
The Reds back three of Luke Morahan, Digby Ioane and Dom Shipperley will be quick to take advantage of the kind of defensive lapses that let the Brumbies run in two tries.
"It's a whole different animal we're up against this week," Blake said.
"First-phase defence was clearly not good enough last week. We certainly don't want those breaches to occur."
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie, who loses nothing in his reshuffled back row, where Test forward Radike Samo replaces injured fellow Wallaby Scott Higginbotham, was unfazed by the threat of a defensive onslaught.
"It's not a surprise tactic," he said. "We've just got to be able to deal with it and there are plenty of different ways to do it."
The Force cannot afford to give away penalties as Reds fly-half Mike Harris has been successful with 15 consecutive kicks and the Reds have won 14 of their last 15 matches at home. Bookmakers have given the Force no chance but captain David Pocock, who played with Anae in the Australian under-20 side, said there was self-belief in his team.
"Alby's a handy footballer, (but he is) a little bit unfamiliar with the hooking role, and that's going to be a challenge for him and an area where we have to put pressure on," he said.
"It's a matter of focus for us and making an improvement on last week. We have to treasure possession because the Reds are enthusiastic in attack and solid in defence.
"The Reds have huge depth and it's going to be a huge game in front of 30,000 Queensland fans who have come to expect to see their side win."
Reds captain James Horwill does not expect any first-game nerves from Anae.
"His throwing has improved out of sight and he's been one of our most consistent throwers, so that's not an issue," he said.
Horwill said the Reds would need to contain the Force back row of Pocock, Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman if they were to achieve successive wins after the defeat of the Waratahs.
"It's going to be a tight contest and we're expecting that. It's going to be very physical up front, and tough at the breakdown," he said.We're going to unsettle a few of their playmakers and be really aggressive defensively."Phil Blake
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