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Reds can't afford Super derby loss: Hunt

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017 Vince Rugari

Karmichael Hunt admits the Queensland Reds can't afford to lose another Australian conference derby if they are to reach the Super Rugby finals, underlining the importance of Saturday's clash with the NSW Waratahs.

The Reds and the Waratahs have both won two and lost six this season and need to make up ground on the Brumbies, who are top of the Australian conference with a seven-point break.

"This back end of the year is going to be pretty big for us if we want to play finals," Hunt told reporters on Tuesday.

"It starts against the Tahs.

"We want to get a win there and continue to roll on."

The clash at Suncorp Stadium is the only regular-round meeting between the Reds and the Waratahs this year.

"It's a huge game. (Brad Thorn) had a good word to us in the gym when we started on Monday; he said it's time to step up and take it on if we want to play finals footy," Hunt said.

The Reds have clashes against the Melbourne Rebels (away), Western Force (home) and the Brumbies (home) to come.

But they have been soundly defeated by the Waratahs in their past six encounters, with their most recent victory coming in July 2013.

"We understand that they've really bullied us over the last couple of years and we want to turn that around," Hunt said.

Coach Nick Stiles is doing his bit to drive home the depth of feeling involved in the Queensland-NSW rivalry.

"He's hanging signs on the walls around the club - scorelines, dates in history (from) some of the great games Queensland have won, where they'd gritted it out for 80 minutes," Hunt said.

"As you grow up and you come through the ranks in junior footy, whether it's union or league, every time you come up against NSW, the coaches put a little bit extra on it."

The Reds are coming off a bye but snapped a six-game losing streak with their win over the Kings in their most recent outing.

The Waratahs, meanwhile, are in crisis mode this week after losing to the lowly Kings, putting coach Daryl Gibson under huge pressure to keep his job.

"I honestly don't think it's a good thing for us," Hunt said.

"The result against the Kings is something they didn't want.

"They'll be looking at this game and thinking let's really get stuck in to them; let's get our season back on track."

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