STAR Queensland Reds recruit and former All Blacks back-rower Adam Thomson has promised to bring composure to a misfiring forward pack against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Composure is exactly what the Reds need after conceding a disappointing 17 penalties in the team's embarrassing 47-3 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra last Friday night.
Thompson, who has 29 Tests for New Zealand and 68 games for the Highlanders to his credit, missed the game because of a shoulder injury. He plans to resist the temptation to change things up too much despite the disappointing result against the Brumbies.
"It's important not to panic - you have to trust what you're doing and the guys around you and know that it was just an attitude thing," the 32-year-old said.
"Rugby is a simple game at the end of the day and a big part of that is the contact at the breakdown, and tackling. We have to switch on, get the simple things right and come out and be physical."
Thomson admitted, how-ever, the forward pack's pride had been hurting all week after their humiliation up front against one of its Australian rivals.
"There have been some stern words - it was embarrassing," he said.
" The contact area is the forwards' area. No matter what, you have to go out there and be physical, and you need to win those little battles. It's pretty clear we lost there last week. There's no hiding around the fact that we have to front up."
The back-rower said he was expecting another tough battle up front against the Force, after the West Australians muscled up in the engine room last Sunday and caused a big upset over defending Super Rugby champion the Waratahs.
"They (the Force) are a good team - they get their momentum off their physicality in their forward pack, and their back-rowers are part of that," he said.
Thomson admitted he was nervous about playing Super Rugby again after a two-year stint in Japan.
He also said his All Blacks playing days were over and he was focused solely on making his second stint in the southern hemisphere another successful one.
A win is crucial for the Reds, who have not lost their opening two games of the season since 2009.
The Force is unbeaten in its past five games against the Queenslanders, but has never won its opening two games of a Super Rugby season.
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