Reds prop Slipper cited for lifting tackle
May 2, 2014
Queensland prop James Slipper will answer a lifting tackle charge © Getty Images
The bad news only got worse for the Reds after Friday night's 44-14 demolition by the Blues in Auckland, with Wallabies prop Slipper cited for a lifting tackle and Feauai-Sautia requiring shoulder scans. Slipper was fortunate only to be sin-binned for his pivotal first-half tackle on Peter Saili but the citing commissioner viewed it as a red-card offence and his fate now lies with a SANZAR judicial officer.
Losing their best forward for next Sunday's home clash with the Crusaders and beyond is as certain as being without their most damaging ball-running back after winger Feauai-Sautia was replaced with a shoulder injury.
Queensland, champions in 2011 and finalists in 2012 and 2013 under Ewen McKenzie, have now lost four matches straight and fallen further from the mark with each display.
Ma'a Nonu too good, leading the Blues to a comprehensive victory
"I can't explain how frustrating it is," skipper James Horwill said. "We know we are better than this and it's disappointing we're not putting out performances our fans deserve because they deserve better."
Queensland's rugby chiefs have made no bones that they will back coach Richard Graham for the long haul but the former Western Force mentor knows the heat is on to drag the Reds out of the mire.
"I obviously have the best interests in the team and organisation at heart and I appreciate their support going forward," he told AAP. "But at the end of the day I know professional sport and Queensland Rugby and we want to win games."
Graham applauded the Ma'a Nonu-inspired Blues who dominated all facets, save for the lineout, to be 34-0 up before Tony Woodcock was sin-binned in the 53rd minute. He was also at pains to praise the effort and attitude of his 13th-placed side (3-7), which is now facing their equal worst streak since the nightmare 2007 wooden-spoon season under Eddie Jones.
"I thought we were really committed in everything we did but two first-phase tries when you are down to 14 men puts you under pressure on the scoreboard," Graham said, pointing to Slipper's 35th-minute yellow card.
Graham stressed the Reds would continue to believe in themselves and show their true character.
"The only thing you can do in these situations is continue to work hard," he said. "There's no magic formula. You have to ride these periods out and you can't let something like this beat you. I have no doubt the character within the group will get us through and come out the other side."