VIDEO: Thorn 'pleased' with narrow loss
WATCH as Reds coach Brad Thorn reacts to his team’s narrow 19-21 loss to the Chiefs in a Super Rugby pre-season outing on Friday.
The two sides scored three tries apiece at Ballymore, in a seesawing encounter, with the game going down to the final seconds in front of a raucous crowd.
Despite the defeat, the Reds will be buoyed by some enterprising attack, a dominant scrum and strong performances from Tate McDermott and Isaac Lucas.
“I was pleased with the body language form the guys in a muggy match, our defence had some good grit there,” Thorn said.
“Just with our attack there wasn’t much going on and then finally some life got breathed into our attack and we started to have some structures and played out some footy,” Thorn added.
The visitors opened the scoring in the second minute through fullback Shaun Stevenson, before Jack Debreczeni’s conversion from close to the sideline gave his side a 7-0 lead.
Bailyn Sullivan was next to score for the Chiefs, after a well-placed Stevenson grubber kick put the outside centre over the line. Debreczeni added the extras to stretch the score to 14-nil after the opening ten minutes.
The score remained for the rest of the first half as both sides turned over the ball at regular intervals, although a moment of Moses Sorovi magic almost delivered the home side their first try.
The electric scrumhalf broke the Chiefs line, before he found Lukan Salakaia-Loto with a flick pass to nearly put the lock over the line.
Hamish Stewart also provided the Ballymore faithful with his own piece of brilliance, after he held Brad Weber up over the line in the final seconds of the first half to deny the Chief’s their third try.
Queensland hit back for their first five-pointer in the 49th minute, after Harry Hoopert burrowed his way over close to the line. Bryce Hegarty slotted the conversion to bring the home side within a converted try at 14-7.
Lucas brought Queensland within striking distance again with a 30-metre solo run, before the Reds raided the Chiefs try line with a series of strong scrums and carries.
It was McDermott who found the line, after he caught the Chiefs defence napping with a quick tap from five metres out. Filipo Daugunu converted to level the scores with twenty minutes to play.
The deadlock didn’t last long, as Tyler Campbell crossed for the visitor’s third try just minutes later. Stevenson converted to make the score 21-14 as the game headed into the final 15 minutes.
Queensland quickly replied with a try of their own through Ruan Smith. Daugunu missed the tough conversion to equal the score, setting up a thrilling finish with five minutes remaining and just a two-point lead to the Chiefs.
It was almost a fairy-tale finish for the Reds after they attacked inside Chiefs’ half in the dying minutes, but it wasn’t to be, as the visitors held strong to leave Brisbane with a two-point win.
The Reds will now look ahead to their opening clash of the Super Rugby season against the Highlanders on February 22 in Dunedin.
For the Reds:
Tries: Hoopert, McDermott, Ruan Smith
Cons: Hegarty, Duagunu
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Stevenson, Sullivan, Campbell
Cons: Sullivan 2, Stevenson
Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements – from: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Angus Blyth, Caleb Timu, Tate McDermott, Duncan Paia’aua, Isaac Lucas, Adam Korczyk, Teti Tela, Jack Hardy, Filipo Daugunu.
Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Malo Tuitama, 13 Bailyn Sullivan, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Michael Allardice (captain), 3 Jeff Thwaites, 2 Samisoni Taukeiaho, 1 Atu Moli.
Replacements – from: Sekope Moli, Aidan Ross, Tevita Mafileo, Laghlan McWhannell, Jesse Parete, Jack Stratton, Tyler Campbell, Orbyn Leger, Sosefo Kautai, Mitchell Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula, Quinn Tupaea.
Referee: Nicholas Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, Aaron Pook