Reds Fa'agase draws on past to conquer Dunedin 'Zoo'
A trip to the Highlanders' zoo stands between the Queensland Reds and a Super Rugby Pacific finals berth.
But the Reds have a zookeeper in their midst in forward Sef Fa'agase, who's drawing on his time at the Dunedin club in 2019 ahead of Friday's crucial match.
The Reds (23 points) are seventh, just four points or one win ahead of the ninth-placed Highlanders entering the penultimate round.
After this weekend, Brad Thorn's men head to Fiji to face the 10th-placed Drua (17 points) and could need wins in both games to feature in the finals in the coach's last campaign.
Fa'agase isn't looking any further than Dunedin though, where the well-travelled campaigner played at provincial and Super Rugby level in 2019.
Forsyth Barr Stadium has a roof and a boisterous home section dubbed the 'Zoo', powered by university students.
"It was a great experience; I learnt a lot about how the Kiwis think and how they want to play their footy," Fa'agase said of his New Zealand stint.
"It's pretty vocal; i don't think many of the boys have experienced anything like it.
"It'll be a new experience and a fun one too. Hopefully we can keep the zoo quiet."
"Just be prepared to run. It's a fast deck, the elements don't play too much into the game."
The Reds were humbled by a Blues team resting five All Blacks last week, crashing them back to earth after a historic defeat of the Chiefs a week earlier.
"We'll need to treat it like a final," Fa'agase said.
"They really need a win and so do we."