Reds rout feeble Force
SUPER RUGBY AU MATCH REPORT: The Reds put their campaign firmly back on track with a bonus-point win over the hapless Western Force on the Gold Coast on Friday.
Outscoring the Force by eight tries to one, the Reds collected a full five points for their 57-5 victory.
Since losing to the Waratahs 12-45 two weeks ago, Queensland has posted impressive wins over the Rebels (19-3) and the Force – moving them to the top of the standings, ahead of Saturday’s big encounter between the Brumbies and Waratahs.
It was also their biggest win over the Force, bettering the 50-10 mauling in 2010.
But more importantly, it solidified the Reds as a genuine title threat.
The Reds have a bye next week before taking on the Brumbies in the final round in a game that could decide top spot.
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James O’Connor had a hand in the first three tries against the Force with perfectly-weighted offloads.
Tate McDermott then scored the fourth and fifth tries after catching the Force defence napping on both occasions.
His first came with a snipe down the sideline after taking the ball from the breakdown.
But he saved his best for the 64th minute when he took a tap penalty before weaving his way through the Force defence in a 40m run to the line.
The first half proved costly on the injury front for the Reds, with centres Josh Flook (shoulder) and Hamish Stewart (hip) forced from the field.
Wing Filipo Daugunu got the ball rolling in the 16th minute when he crossed over after latching on to a neat inside pass from O’Connor.
Daugunu scored his second try in the 29th minute when O’Connor offloaded while being tackled.
The Force breathed some life into the contest with a rolling maul try from hooker Andrew Ready in the 43rd minute.
But a yellow card to Force prop Kieran Longbottom in the 53rd minute proved decisive, with the Reds going on a rampage from that point on.
O’Connor saved his best pass for the 55th minute when he raised the ball high with one hand while being tackled in order to offload with a finger-roll to Fraser McReight.
The floodgates opened soon after, with McDermott’s double followed by a try to O’Connor himself.
Bryce Hegarty and Tuaina Tali Tualima added to the Force’s misery in the dying minutes.
“We were due for one of those,” McDermott said.
“We’ve been sticking it to this tournament for a while now and haven’t had that 80-minute performance.”
Force captain Ian Prior rued his team’s patchy display.
“A tough day in the office today,” Prior said.
“The Reds are playing well, they’re confident, and they made the most of their opportunities.”
Man of the match: You will obviously look at the try-scorers – wing Filipo Daugunu and scrumhalf Tate McDermott, who bagged two each. Then there was firebrand prop Taniela Tupou, except that he dropped the ball cold with the tryline begging. Flyhalf James O’Connor showed why he is in the running for the Wallaby No.10 jersey. Fiery flank Fraser McReight also got a try as a reward for his hard work. However, our award goes to Reds captain Liam Wright – who won some crucial turnovers at a time when the game was still tight and showed his huge workrate again.
For the Western Force:
For the Reds:
Tries: Daugunu 2, McReight, McDermott 2, O’Connor, Hegarty, Tualima
Cons: O’Connor 7
Yellow card: Kieran Longbottom (Western Force, 52 – repeated infringements, offside)
Western Force: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jack McGregor, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessman, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tom Sheminant, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callan, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Henry Taefu.
Queensland Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 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 Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jack Straker.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Jack Hardy.
Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Damon Murphy
TMO: Brett Cronan