Red-letter day for Stiles and Queensland rugby
RUGBY UNION: For all the talk of Quade Cooper being close to a return to Queensland and bringing back the razzle dazzle, new Reds coach Nick Stiles has promised one thing above all else – a hard, abrasive brand of football.
After being confirmed as the new coach for the next two seasons – to wide acclaim across the rugby landscape – Stiles promised disillusioned fans that results would improve next year.
Cooper and Stiles enjoy a good relationship and the star Wallabies playmaker is close to signing at Ballymore.
But the 42-year-old former Australian front-rower was quick to add that the experience of fellow Wallaby veterans and 2017 signings Stephen Moore and George Smith would add plenty of starch up front.
The Reds finished 2016 with just three wins.
“It’s important when we rock up to Suncorp Stadium we play a really hard style of football so the fans can leave knowing ‘that’s Queensland rugby’,” Stiles said.
“History shows when Queensland’s been great we’ve had a strong forward pack, a team that played for each other and a team that had some good attacking flair, and that’s what our fans are going to see.”
Stiles gave another reason for Reds fans to be optimistic – he likes Quade Cooper and the feeling is mutual.
It is widely known that Cooper was not fond of former coach Richard Graham’s style.
Cooper has already signed for three years with the Australian Rugby Union and was waiting for the Reds’ coaching appointment before committing.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Quade. He’s a Queensland Red, he’s passionate about the place and hopefully we can get that (contract) sorted moving forward,” Stiles said.
Stiles is widely respected by former and current players because of his no-nonsense style, and the fact he’s already had success.
He has won two titles with Brisbane City in as many seasons in the National Rugby Championship.
“If you look at the NRC – that’s a fantastic tool for me to step up and be the man in charge and in that process I got to test things out,” he said.
“I was very proud of what we achieved in the NRC, and now I get that chance to take that to Super Rugby level.”
Stiles said the Reds could turn around their fortunes next year because they had already bolstered their roster.
“The addition of George Smith but also Stephen Moore really brings a lot of experience to the side, and potentially if Quade gets on board as well it would be nice,” he told Fox Sports.
“You’ve seen that already in 2016 – we’ve been able to blood some real exciting prospects in Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Tui, Campbell Magnay, and we’ve seen players like Nick Frisby and Samu Kerevi become Wallabies.
“Our balance moving forward into 2017 is something we’re very happy about and we’ve got good depth and we feel we can compete and play good football.”