Storm warning as big front moves towards Reds
SOUTH African-born prop JP Smith should be giving the Reds pack their final rev-up this week so they are as motivated as he is to show they are not a soft target for the Stormers.
Smith warned that the Cape Town-based side he once played for would be desperate to leave the Reds buckled and broken at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
"It's a massive game for them and I know how those boys think of Australian forwards," said Smith, who played three times for the Stormers in 2016.
"Soft … that's what they think of us in general and they'll try to bully us.
"Take that front-foot ball away from them and it's a different story."
Smith's straight-shooting must be digested because not one of the Reds forwards who bowed to the Rebels last weekend can be happy with his game in the 32-13 loss.
Equally, the Stormers are stinging from losses in New Zealand to the Hurricanes (34-28) and Blues (24-9) when they were right in both contests past the hour mark.
"That makes them very desperate, it's not always pleasant (in their camp) when they don't win games. They'll be targeting us at Suncorp Stadium for sure," Smith said.
"We need to be up for that physical stuff and it will be a very big test for us.
"Finding more intensity has already started on the training field and being harder on ourselves to get the mindset for this week."
Smith is primed for a big one himself against former Stormers squad mates Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and skipper Siya Kolisi, all quality Springboks in the visitors' pack.
Smith accepted that the meagre 32 per cent cut of possession in the first half against the Rebels was on the Reds forwards not producing at their best.
Fixing up squandered lineout throws and messy scrums, when concentration wavered, is essential because both will be red rags for the Stormers to aim at.
Whether centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring) is fit is still to be decided.
The Reds do have the benefit of playing three direct South African teams in a row (Stormers, Bulls and Sharks) but they must find the physical edge for them immediately.