Super Rugby
Sharks walking wounded secure first tour win
ESPN Staff
May 22, 2015
Date/Time: May 22, 2015, 19:40 local, 09:40 GMT
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Queensland Reds 14 - 21 Sharks
Half-time: 7 - 16
Tries: Kerevi, Kuridrani
Cons: O'Connor 2
Tries: Ungerer 2
Cons: Steyn
Pens: Steyn 3
Reds player Chris Kuridrani (C) is tackled by Sharks player Marcell Coetzee, Reds v Sharks, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, May 22, 2015
Chris Kuridrani impressed for the Reds but wasn't enough to steal the win
© Getty Images
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The Sharks have ended their Australasian tour on a high after they led and dominated much of the match, while the Reds struggled with their handling. Not looking much like last week's winning side, a poor James O'Connor clearing kick that was charged down and picked up by Stefan Ungerer before he strolled over the line, exemplified the struggling performance of the Reds.

A week on from their thumping win over the Melbourne Rebels, the horrors returned for the embattled Reds, who were well in the hunt until O'Connor's 69th-minute howler. The former Wallabies winger completely miscued an attempted kick for touch from deep in Queensland's in-goal area, instead picking out the chest of Sharks scrum-half Ungerer, who was metres from the tryline and couldn't believe his luck.

It was Ungerer's second of the match and it blew the stuffing out of a Reds outfit that, while scrappy and error-prone once again, looked odds-on to sneak home in front of 20,899 fans. Instead, the Durban-based Sharks have tasted victory for the first time since March, leaving Queensland head coach Richard Graham searching for answers.

Reds 16-21Sharks (video available in Australia only)

Where last week they were energetic and inventive, the Reds were sluggish, fumbly and plagued by turnovers, spending most of the first half pinned back in defence as the fast-starting Sharks dialled up the pressure. It eventually paid off for the South Africans after 17 minutes, when Ungerer attacked the blindside from the base of a solid Sharks scrum and flashed over the line for a converted try and a 10-0 lead to the visitors.

But Queensland struck back with a stunning try-of-the-year contender seven minutes later with a move that went through nine pairs of hands and almost the entire length of the field - the only passage of play on Friday night when their attack actually stuck.

It started with Samu Kerevi blasting through the Sharks line from the Reds' defensive 22m line, continued as Kerevi recovered possession after JP Pietersen elbowed down an attempted Liam Gill flick pass, and finished with Chris Kuridrani scoring his first Super Rugby try in the left corner.

Kuridrani was unfortunate to be denied an earlier five-pointer by the video referee when he stepped over the touchline, but found himself in the right place at the right time on this occasion to give the under-pressure Adam Thomson and Will Genia an outlet after they nearly fluffed the opportunity.

Two Francois Steyn penalties before half-time gave the Sharks some breathing space at 16-7, but the Reds were in again early in the second stanza when Kerevi crashed through. O'Connor added the extras to reduce the margin to just two points - but he looked like he wanted the Caxton Street end to swallow him up after his late disaster, which the Reds couldn't recover from.

Graham said the Reds allowed the Sharks to dictate the tempo of the game and were unable to escape their shackles.

"It's a game I feel we lost," Graham said. "Thirteen turnovers in the first half and then we got sucked into playing the game they wanted to, as opposed to being disciplined and sticking to the way we wanted to. I'll give them credit, it's obviously been a fairly long road trip and a tough season for them and they were very good at what they did. But I'm disappointed we allowed the game to be slowed down and played at a tempo they wanted to play at."


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