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Reds embarrass Highlanders, Hurricanes survive Suva test

SUPER RUGBY FRIDAY WRAP: Jordan Petaia has limped off clutching his shoulder on a day the Queensland Reds otherwise celebrated for rebooting their Super Rugby Pacific season in historic fashion.

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The Wallaby utility back’s first-half incident on Friday was an obvious sore point in a dominant affair, as the hosts dominated the Highlanders in a 31-0 Brisbane shut-out.

Les Kiss’s men emphatically snapped a three-game losing streak, improving to 4-4 despite missing a host of injured and suspended key players.

Their record against New Zealand teams this year is now 2-1 – including an extra-time loss to the unbeaten Hurricanes – already their most successful in that regard since 2013, with the Blues and Crusaders still to play.

The Highlanders barely fired a shot in a fifth-straight loss, continually turned over by a combination of Reds pressure and unforced errors.

It was only the fourth time since the competition’s inception in 1996 the Highlanders had been kept scoreless.

Petaia is off contract beyond this season and has been linked to a move to the NRL or foreign rugby.

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The 24-year-old has played in two World Cups despite a string of injury setbacks.

While the centre’s match was ended in an attempted tackle gone wrong, his midfield partner Hunter Paisami starred.

The nuggety No.12 used quick hands to pluck a pass and score, then used his boot and offload to pull the strings for the Reds in a confident second-half showing.

Flyhalf Tom Lynagh also took the line on and Irish lock Cormac Daly was impressive in his first Super Rugby start.

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The Reds used 19 phases to score their second try, with Ryan Smith eventually banging it down for a 17-0 lead.

That’s how it stayed in a subdued second half until Paisami put Lawson Creighton through a gap.

Paisami then iced the match with a clever cross-field kick that set up an easy Suliasi Vunivalu try on the final hooter to secure the Reds their biggest defeat of the Highlanders in 27 years.

*The Hurricanes made it eight wins from eight at the top of the Super Rugby table on Friday with a hard-fought 38-15 victory over Fijian Drua in Suva.

Despite conceding three second-half yellow cards, the Hurricanes maintained their perfect start to the season by outscoring the hosts five tries to two in front of a boisterous 15,000 crowd.

“It was pretty crazy, awesome atmosphere. It was a good test of our character. We talk about new challenges and this was definitely one of them,” said Hurricanes captain Brad Shields.

“We didn’t think we would be down to 13,” he added as the Hurricanes lost two players to the sinbin midway through the second half. “But it shows good character. I’m really proud of our effort.”

It is the first time Drua have lost at home this season.

Both sides claimed early tries before the Hurricanes stamped their authority.

They struck early when centre Billy Proctor picked up a loose ball and crashed over, but the Drua hit back through flyhalf Isikeli Rabitu after a superb break by centre Iosefo Masi.

The New Zealand team then pulled away with three unanswered tries.

No.8 Devan Flanders flopped over from the back of a scrum, centre Jordie Barrett crossed after a break by Proctor and hooker James O’Reilly scored from a maul.

Down 7-28 at half-time, Drua clawed back when flank Kitione Salawa grabbed a try from a driving maul and as they piled on the pressure, the Hurricanes had two players sin-binned in quick succession.

Flank Du’Plessis Kirifi got a yellow for a high tackle, then lock Isaia Walker-Leawere was penalised after not staying on his feet at a ruck.

Despite the disadvantage, their defence held firm as Drua’s Kemu Valetini and Barrett traded penalties.

Caleb Delany was then also sin-binned, but the visitors scored the final try when prop Xavier Numia mauled his way over.

See below Friday’s scores and scorers!

Fijian Drua 15-38 Hurricanes

The scorers:

For Fijian Drua:
Tries: Rabitu, Salawa
Con: Valetini
Pen: Valetini

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Proctor, Flanders, Barrett, O’Reilly, Numia
Cons: Barrett, Morgan 4
Pen: Barrett

Yellow cards: Du’Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes); Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hurricanes); Caleb Delany (Hurricanes)

Teams:

Fijian Drua: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Kemu Valetini, 11 Epeli Momo, 10 Isikeli Rabitu, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Elia Canakaivata, 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Vilive Miramira, 5 Leone Rotuisolia, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere (captain), 1 Haereiti Hetet.
Replacements: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Livai Natave, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Mesake Vocevoce, 20 Meli Derenalagi, 21 Peni Matawalu, 22 Michael Naitokani, 23 Junior Ratuva.

Hurricanes: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Kini Naholo, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Brad Shield (captain), 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Ben Grant, 3 Pasilio Tosi, 2 James O’Reilly, 1 Tevita Mafileo.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Siale Lauaki, 19 Caleb Delany, 20 Peter Lakai, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ruben Love, 23 Bailyn Sullivan.

Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Dan Waenga, Mike Winter
TMO: Richard Kelly

Reds 31-0 Highlanders

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Paisami, Smith, Creighton, Vunivalu
Cons: Lynagh 2, Creighton 2
Pen: Lynagh

For Highlanders: None

Teams:

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Suli Vunivalu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Tom Lynagh, 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 John Bryant, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Ryan Smith, 4 Cormac Daly, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Joe Brial, 21 Louis Werchon, 22 Lawson Creighton, 23 Tim Ryan.

Highlanders: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Sam GIlbert, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 James Arscott, 8 Billy Harmon (captain), 7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Hugo Plummer, 3 Saula Ma’’u, 2 Ricky Jackson, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Henry Bell, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Rohan Wingham, 19 Will Stodart, 20 Nikora Broughton, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Ajay Faleafaga, 23 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens.

Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Damon Murphy
TMO: Brett Cronan

AAP & AFP

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