Queensland Reds flanker Fraser McReight says his team is taking no notice of bookmaker odds for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman that have the Australian champions at a higher price than all five of New Zealand sides.
Fresh off the back of their Super Rugby AU triumph, where they dropped just one game on the road to a dramatic 19-16 win over the Brumbies in the final on Saturday, the Reds head to Dunedin to open the Trans-Tasman competition against the Highlanders.
But Brad Thorn's team and fellow Super Rugby AU finalists, the Brumbies, have been deemed inferior outfits to each of the Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders, who are all rated a better chance of winning the tournament.
McReight said the apparent slight mattered little to the Reds and that they were simply looking forward to testing themselves against the best New Zealand has to offer.
"We got shown this morning where the betting markets view us, we're not even in the top five," McReight said Tuesday. "So we're going [over] there as an underdog...in the past historically, the Queensland Reds play very well against New Zealand sides. We love attacking rugby, and they play very similar to us.
"They're going to be great games, and we really can't wait to play the New Zealand sides. Because we haven't really played them in two years.
"We're a team that probably didn't know how to win, but now we do know how to win, we've matured and so they're [New Zealand's teams] going to get a taste of that."
Pushed on whether his team would use the market as motivation, McReight said it was more a matter of self-belief and building on what they achieved in Super Rugby AU.
"It doesn't really matter, it's white noise. All you really care about as a player is your inner sanctum, the people here and what we believe, that's what matters to us," he said.
"We don't really care about what anyone else has to say and I think that's pretty special. We all have this belief within the group that we can go and win this comp, and we want to do that, but it's a big ask and a big job to do. So we're just taking it one game at a time, and like we all said before the final, it's a process not the result that we're looking after."
But Western Force and former All Blacks winger Richard Kahui believes there will be an adjustment period for his side and the other Australian teams, particularly when it came to the speed and movement of the New Zealanders' attack.
"The Kiwi teams like ball movement and possession," Kahui said.
"That's something that will be a bit of a shock for a few of the teams over here in Australia, who are more territory based.
"There will be a little bit of a change, and we'll have to adapt. But at the same time it offers a lot of opportunities for us.
"If they want to move the ball around, it's an opportunity for us to get up off the line, put them under pressure and force errors. It will be interesting to see how the contrasting styles go."