Linde prepares for moment of truth

By Jay Buchan

BRASSALL'S Dan Linde gets his chance to convince the Queensland Rugby Union of his worth when he runs out for the Queensland Premier XV against Auckland tomorrow.

The Qld XV is actually a squad of 24, consisting of Reds contracted players and in-form Brisbane premiership players.

They take on an Auckland line-up preparing to defend its New Zealand National Provincial Championship title.

"I have got to show I can compete at this level," Queensland Academy flanker Linde, whose contract is up for review, said from his home last week.

"That will help with my contract negotiations."

When he is not playing or training Linde works for Brisbane City Council's works department alongside fellow Ipswich product, Queensland Reds and Australia A flanker Tasi Luafutu.

The pair played together in Australia's under 19 world champion team of 2006, under Reds coach Phil Mooney.

Luafutu has since shown Linde what he can achieve if he takes his chance.

"Looking at Tasi this year, we both went to the academy together. John Roe got injured, Tasi got called up and took his opportunity," Linde said.

If Linde is rewarded with a Queensland contract for next year he will compete with Luafutu for a spot in the Queensland team.

With Reds stalwart David Croft retiring following tomorrow's game, there will be a vacancy at open side breakaway.

Luafutu has the inside running, having replaced Croft at times in this year's Super 14.

That has not deterred Linde however, who at 193cm will be one of the biggest open sides running around.

Ironically, Croft has been an inspiration to Linde throughout his career.

It was he who initially showed the youngster what was required at provincial level.

"It was my first training session with the Reds squad," said Linde, who plays his club rugby for University of Queensland.

"We were doing a ruck drill and I tried to steal the ball.

"Crofty nearly ripped my head of and pretty much said, 'welcome to the Reds'."

That showed Linde how much he had to toughen up to make it.

"I'd like to think I'm pretty tough defensively," the former Ipswich Grammar School student said.

"You've got to be honest with yourself. The standard at Super 14 level keeps getting higher."

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