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Super Rugby Pacific: Reds are a different beast under Les Kiss

REACTION: Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan praised the Queensland Reds’ takedown of his powerhouse Super Rugby Pacific side, saying their never-say-die attitude was reminiscent of his own team.

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The Reds are beginning to thrive under Les Kiss, who returned to Australia this season after five years coaching English club London Irish, who are now in administration.

After thumping the Waratahs to open their season, the Reds forced current table leaders Hurricanes to extra time last week before stunning the Chiefs 25-19 in Brisbane on Saturday.

It halted the Hamilton-based side’s winning start to the season, with the Reds heroically protecting their tryline from a bruising 23-phase drive in the final minutes to secure victory.

“Where the Reds shone was around their effort,” said McMillan, whose team topped the regular season table last year and finished runners-up in the Final to seven-time defending champions Crusaders.

“It struck me in the pre-season and the first few games that they’ve got something going right in their environment.

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“People are prepared to get off the ground and scramble for each other and make it hard for others to earn points. It’s positive signs, the sort we’ve seen in our group over the past few seasons.”

Kiss, who took over from former All Black forwards Brad Thorn, called the victory “titanic”, with the Reds winning just two of their last 19 against New Zealand opposition heading into the game.

Both of those wins came against the Chiefs, including snapping their 21-game, 10-year losing streak on New Zealand soil last season.

“We’re not surprised, put it that way. But that’s titanic in a way to hold out the Chiefs,” Kiss said. “It was probably fitting it went down to the last minute.”

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The victory was even more impressive given their disappointment at a golden-point loss to the Hurricanes last week.

“The boys were gutted but they didn’t lose themselves down a cul-de-sac of gloom,” added Kiss, who helped Ireland win multiple Six Nations titles as an assistant coach.

“They just said, ‘What can we focus on next?'”

The Reds finished eighth of the 12 teams last season, with five wins from 14.

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