Reds blitz willing Force
SUPER RUGBY AU MATCH REPORT: The Reds remained unbeaten and cemented their place at the top of the standings with a hard-earned 31-24 win over the Western Force in Brisbane on Friday.
It was a 21-point blitz in an eight-minute period midway through the first half that sealed the win for the Queensland-based franchise.
Their rush of tries took the score from a 0-14 deficit to a 21-14 lead – an advantage the home team retained to the end.
* Did you miss any of the action? Recap all the drama right here!
Force playmaker Jono Lance lamented two missed conversions – one charged down by Reds wing Filipo Daugunu and the other hitting the post which would have kept the pressure on.
For the first time since 2013 the Reds have been unbeaten for four successive games as they beat the Bulls before the regular competition was shut down in March before two wins plus last round’s draw with Melbourne since the restart.
The Force again got off to a flying start, repeating their effort against the Waratahs last week by rushing to a 14-0 lead.
Young fullback Jack McGregor was first across before another former Queensland schoolboy Byron Ralston crossed for the first of two tries for the match.
But three tries within eight minutes got the home side back in the fight, with the Force losing skipper Ian Prior to a shoulder stinger.
O’Connor found Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa was lurking out wide to get their score ticking over.
Fullback Jock Campbell made the most of a Hunter Paisami break and then prop Taniela Tupou rumbled over from a line-out after an O’Connor 50-22 kick.
That gave Queensland a 21-14 lead, and advantage they looked like they would take into half-time before Ralston intercepted and ran 80 metres to touch down.
Daugunu crossed five minutes into the second half, but Paisami was then yellow-carded for a spear tackle leaving his team a man down.
The Force took advantage with Andrew Ready crossing in the 69th minute to set up a nail-biting finish but they again fell short.
Man of the match: Jack McGregor and Byron Ralston showed promise on attack. Brynard Stander worked hard and Fergus Lee-Warner had some encouraging moments. Reds wings Chris Feauai-Sautia and Filipo Daugunu had a field day against a whimsical Force defence. Taniela Tupou had some impressive moments and hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa put in a big shift on defence. Our award goes to Reds flyhalf James O’Connor, who put forward his name as a Wallaby option in the No.10 channel – the veteran’s game management the best of all the Australians.
For the Reds
Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Campbell, Tupou, Daugunu
Cons: O’Connor 4
For the Western Force:
Tries: McGregor, Ralston 2, Ready
Cons: Prior 2
Yellow card: Hunter Paisaimi (Reds, 70 – foul play, spear tackle)
Queensland: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Hunter Paisaimi, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Scott-Young, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Harry Hoopert.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Jack Straker, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Josh Flook, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Nick Jooste, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Tevin Ferris, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Angus Wagner.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Ollie Callen, 21 Jacob Abel, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Kyle Godwin.
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy, Jordan Way
TMO: Brett Cronan