Queensland win thriller in Brisbane
May 30, 2014
Scrum-half Will Genia played his 100th match for Queensland
© Getty Images
Queensland produced their best Super Rugby display of a nightmare season to celebrate Will Genia's 100th Reds match with a thrilling 38-31 upset of the Highlanders on Friday night. Genia was superb in a man-of-the-match display at Suncorp Stadium as the Reds ended their worst losing streak since 2007 with a Jake Schatz try after the full-time hooter.
The Reds went 50m in almost two minutes of "red time" with countless rumbling phases before No.8 Schatz barged over for his second try of a pulsating encounter. It was not only a win cheered on by 24,490 Brisbane fans but by a host of rival Australian and Kiwi teams as the result put a significant dent in the sixth-placed Highlanders' play-off hopes.
The Reds snap a six game losing streak to claim an after the siren victory (video available in Australia only)
Queensland appeared to have the match parcelled up at 28-7 when they bagged a four-try bonus point in the 48th minute with Schatz scoring his first five-pointer from a pushover scrum. They were also leading 31-17 with five minutes left before Ben Lucas, filling in for the injured Quade Cooper, gave Patrick Osborne an 80m intercept try to close the gap to seven.
It appeared the Reds' rotten luck in their string of six straight losses had continued when reserve scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka dived over with a minute left. But the final result thoroughly deserved for Queensland - who dominated the set pieces - and Genia especially.
Under fire this season for shelving his running game, the 55-Test halfback was at his roaming best from the outset to the delight of the home crowd. Not only was Genia probing but his kicking was a feature of Queensland's superb first half. It was his right boot which created a 21-0 half-time lead with kicks that resulted in tries to wingers Rod Davies and Dom Shipperley.
The Highlanders showed their intent early with a high-octane attacking game but the Reds' scrambling defence and their superior work at the breakdown got them out of jail. Queensland's lineout also saved them under pressure in their own half with Wallabies lock Rob Simmons standing tall a week out from the opening Test against France.
With Genia and Lucas combining well, the Reds also showed enterprise in attack in a pulsating first half. Three times fullback Mike Harris was put into holes out wide. On the third he set up position for a patient attack on the line that flanker Curtis Browning finally finished by ploughing over under the posts.
Harris' radar boot was key for the Reds as he kicked five from five while the Highlanders were left to rue a controversial TMO decision disallowing a Ben Smith try.
Reds fullback Mike Harris put in a strong display © Getty Images