A return to Test Rugby after eight years in the Wallabies wilderness would instil confidence in many but Queensland Reds front rower Greg Holmes says it has increased the pressure.
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Far from gaining complacency through his renewed international tag, Holmes said the status meant he had to make more of an impact on the field.
“It’s always nice to be back in the Wallabies scenes and hopefully I can get a couple more games in June (against England),” he said.
“It puts a little more pressure to perform and lead the way and show the young guys the ropes, get everyone up to speed.
“There’s a lot of weight on my shoulders to help the guys keep going this year.”
And that might start this weekend, with Holmes the sole change to the Reds’ starting side for their second trial against the Brumbies.
The Brumbies handed the Reds two heavy defeats in 2016, including a first round drubbing at GIO Stadium.
Coming off their 31-3 loss to the Crusaders last weekend, Holmes said the players had acknowledged they needed to improve in basically every area.
“As a group we weren’t happy after the game last week,” he said.
‘“To get 30 points put on us not a great look.
“That’s’ something we’ve spoken about as a playing group and we’re not happy about it.
“This week we come out we’ve got to lift our physicality, our intensity, everything we have to improve otherwise round one we’re not going to be ready.”
The Brumbies trial will be the final chance for the sides to have a sense of their teams heading into Super Rugby, with both opting for just the two trials this seasonFor the Reds, that means they will only have a limited opportunity to see Japanese star Ayumu Goromaru, coming off the bench.
Goromaru will play up to half an hour of the match, Graham said, after performing well in his two training sessions so far.
More intriguingly, is the selection of youngster Henry Taefu has held an inside centre spot for the second week in a row.
Despite Taefu’s retention of the 12 spot, Graham gave no guarantees the Brisbane City back would be there in round one.
With this their final competitive hit out before the season, Graham said his focus was on his own team, rather than the overall result.
“At this stage of the season it’s a guide but not much more than that,” he said.
“In Super Rugby, the intensity is greater than trial due to swapping positions and people around.
“At this early stage, it’s not really about the Brumbies, it’s about ourselves and we’re more concerned about our own performance.”
The Reds face the Brumbies on Friday night at Ballymore at 8:30pm AEDT.