Queensland Reds captain James Slipper
Queensland Reds captain James Slipper DAN PELED

Reds won’t underestimate visiting Cheetahs

The Queensland Reds will go into a match as favourites for the first time this season, but skipper James Slipper said the players' approach to tonight's Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs at Suncorp Stadium would not change.

The Reds sit bottom of the Australian conference table having won one, drawn one and lost six matches and won't take the visiting South Africans lightly.

Queensland beat the Highlanders but was the underdog in that 28-27 success."They're very powerful up front, they've got very quick speedsters out wide who can score tries from anywhere on the field," Slipper said. "It sets up to be a good game. Both teams like to play the ball and score tries and we're excited by that."

Injuries have cruelled the Reds this season with Jake Schatz and Caleb Timu the latest to be hit by long-term knee problems.

Slipper said it was important to keep the players just kept working hard through the bad times.

"You've got to keep your head up and keep pushing forward," he said.

"In rugby, these things happen.

"You never know what's around the corner and injuries are a part of any sport."

The Rebels will look to remain top in the Australian conference with a win in Auckland against the Blues. Coach Tony McGahan said it wouldn't be easy, especially as the New Zealand outfit defeated the Rebels 59-7 in a preseason trial.

"We're under no illusion of the challenge we face against a really good side," he said.

David Pocock will return for the Brumbies against the Highlanders in Invercargill after his two-week ban for his dangerous tackle on the Chiefs Michael Leitch. Co-captain Stephen Moore misses out with calf, while Joe Tomane's knee injury gives a chance to Nigel ah Wong.

The Waratahs will play the Stormers in Cape Town early tomorrow morning.

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