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Kirwan expects Reds to give Blues their biggest test

John Kirwan says the Reds are the best side in the tournament currently

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Article Published: Monday 22 April 2013|

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan says that even though they currently lead the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference they need to make sure that they keep focused and working hard.

Kirwan says that he is not getting carried away with the Blues position in the standings especially since they face the Reds this weekend who he says are "the best side in the competiton".

"I'm really happy with where we are but we're just half way through and we need to make sure that we keep working hard," Kirwan said on the Blues site.

"The next six weeks is defining for everyone. The bottom team can get to the top and the top team can go to the bottom so we're not getting carried away, we've got to keep working hard and we've got a huge test on Friday night."

The Blues are looking at this week's Super Rugby match against the Reds in Brisbane as the biggest challenge that they have faced this season after the 2011 Champions beat the Chiefs two weeks ago.

"They're the best side in the competition," Kirwan said.

"I thought it was a really tense, physical battle the other night against the Brumbies so we need to be ready for that.

"It's going to be a battle up front firstly because they're really aggressive at the ruck and then we need to try and contain two world class backline players in Will Genia and Quade Cooper."

Kirwan said the form being shown by the Australian teams currently can be attributed to the looming British and Irish Lions tour.

So far this season the Australian teams have won seven matches against the New Zealand teams this season, with the Hurricanes the only team to manage a win against them.

"It's a bit like the World Cup isn't it? Everyone has a bit of an edge and wants to be selected. I know when I was playing, to play the Lions was a highlight," Kirwan said.

"I just wish (Wallabies coach) Robbie Deans hadn't left Quade out of that squad, since then he's been playing the house down."

Kirwan revealed that Captain Ali Williams missed training on Monday with an ongoing knee issue but added that he would be fine to face the Reds.

Kirwan also intimated that All Black veteran Keven Mealamu would continue to make his impact felt off the bench on Friday night.

"Keven will probably play off the bench. Kevvie's going well and so is JP (James Parsons) so we've got a really nice bit of competition there.

"We know what Kevvie can bring us but JP has also been playing the house down so off the bench for Kevvie and see what happens."

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