Super Rugby: Reds Strike First Blow With Opening Win In Canberra
Reds Media Release –
A superb try from fullback Aidan Toua and an impressive debut from Lachie Turner spearheaded a 27-17 win over last year’s runners-up, the Brumbies, in Canberra tonight.
The Reds won their opening encounter of the 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby competition through fierce defence and an intent to chance their arm when opportunities arose.
Reds head coach Richard Graham was pleased with the outcome and praised his team for their efforts.
“I think we showed a lot of character tonight and that is a foundation on which you can build things,” Graham said.
“Last year we only conceded 23 tries. Defence is something we’ve continued to work really hard on in pre-season and you saw the results of that tonight.
“The big positive for me when we went down to 14 men was our composure. We were really clear in the way we wanted to execute and we stuck at it.”
It was a warm 25 degrees in Canberra, dry conditions with a slight 10kmh wind. Perfect conditions for Rugby.
The Brumbies kicked off, giving fullback Toua his first touch of the Super Rugby season.
The Reds started slowly, losing a lineout in just the second-minute, which led to a penalty at the breakdown for the Brumbies. Jesse Mogg lined up the penalty from 35 metres out but the kicked faded to the left.
Mogg had a second opportunity minutes later, from right in front. He made no mistake and the Reds trailed 3-0 after eight minutes.
A great lineout win from Ed Quirk then gave the Reds a good attacking platform but the ball came loose at the breakdown and the Brumbies sent Joe Tomane toward the line. He was brought down just short with strong defence from Turner.
Turner also stopped Brumbies winger Henry Speight short of the line, this time on the other side of the field, before getting to his feet to force a penalty.
Another breakdown penalty saw Nic White land an attempt from 41 metres out and the Reds trailed 6-0 after 15 minutes.
A mistake from Mogg from the kick off then gave the Reds an excellent attacking opportunity in the Brumbies 22. The Reds launched a sustained attack with Will Genia and Cooper working the ball from side to side.
A strong Liam Gill burst gave the Reds some momentum and then Dom Shipperley went close on the left. The ball was then moved quickly back to the right and a stellar cut-out pass from Cooper found Turner out wide. The winger forced his way over just inside the corner post to score his side’s first try.
Cooper then landed the conversion from the touchline, with a bit help from the right upright. Suddenly the Reds were up 7-6 after 19 minutes.
Toua was next to spark the Reds attack, taking a cutout pass from Cooper inside his own half before sprinting sixty metres and bamboozling the defence to score a stunning solo try. The conversion was good and the Reds had silenced the home crowd, leading 14-6.
Turner was again sound in defence, holding Mogg up over the line to deny the Brumbies fullback.
Play re-started with a penalty, however, to the Brumbies, which Mogg landed to make the score 14-9 to Queensland.
The Reds were now dominating the breakdown and another penalty for the Brumbies trying to slow the ball down gave Cooper another shot. He slotted it over from 46 metres out on the right, to put the Reds up 17-9 at half time.
A cagey start to the second half saw Mogg and Cooper trade penalties to maintain the Reds lead 20-12 on 50 minutes.
The Brumbies were then given an opportunity to get back in the match as prop Greg Holmes was sent to the sin-bin for a minor breakdown offence close to his own line.
From the scrum, the Brumbies used the extra man advantage and Mogg went over out wide. The conversion was out to the left and the Reds led 20-17 after 55 minutes.
The Brumbies then ramped up the pressure with Holmes still in the sin-bin, but good defence from Rob Simmons held up Scott Sio over the line.
Then, in a huge moment, the Reds captain James Horwill burst through the middle of the Brumbies rolling maul metres from the line to stop another certain try.
Mogg had the chance to level the scores with nine minutes remaining but missed the attempt from 35 metres out.
A cruel bounce for Schatz gave the Brumbies another chance as the clock wound down but a huge shove from the Reds pack, with Ben Daley and James Hanson boosting the front row, won the Reds an important penalty.
The Brumbies threw everything they had at the Reds’ defence in the final few minutes but the Queensland line was impregnable.
The Reds were then awarded a penalty and Cooper kicked for touch. The ball didn’t find touch, but a mistake from Mogg saw Feauai-Sautia pounce to score the match-clinching try. Cooper landed the conversion to cap the win.
Queensland now faces their oldest rivals, the NSW Waratahs in Sydney next week and will be looking to keep up their excellent start to the season.
The Reds’ first home game is against the Cheetahs on Friday 7 March.
Queensland Reds 27 (Lachie Turner, Aidan Toua, Chris Feauai-Sautia tries; Quade Cooper 3 conversions, 2 penalties) defeated Brumbies 17 (Jesse Mogg try; Mogg 3, Nic White penalties) at Canberra Stadium. (Half time: Reds 17 Brumbies 9) (Referee: James Leckie [AUS])