Super Rugby
Queensland Reds regain pride on home soil
Andy Withers
February 21, 2015
Report Match details
Date/Time: Feb 21, 2015, 18:40 local, 08:40 GMT
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Queensland Reds 18 - 6 Force
Half-time: 11 - 6
Tries: Turner, Penalty
Cons: Turner
Pens: Turner 2
Pens: Ebersohn 2
Queensland's Adam Thomson wins a lineout, Queensland Reds v Western Force, Super Rugby, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, February 21, 2015
Adam Thomson produced a strong 80-minute performance on debut for the Reds
© Getty Images
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Queensland Reds have ended one of the worst weeks in franchise history with a determined performance to claim their first win of the Super Rugby season and boost the morale of a cyclone-battered state.

The Reds opened their campaign with a dismal performance in Canberra, losing to the Brumbies by 44 points after conceding 17 penalties, and then on Friday they saw devastating headlines as Cyclone Marcia made landfall that high-profile recruit Karmichael Hunt had been served notice to appear in court in relation to an investigation by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission into cocaine trafficking.

Could it get any worse ahead of a fixture given the go-ahead only on Saturday morning, after an A-League soccer match had been postponed on Friday night, and before the Cricket World Cup game between Australia and Bangladesh at the 'Gabba would be called off as Brisbane was lashed with 300mm of rain in 24 hours?


The Reds lost James O'Connor when the returning playmaker failed a late fitness test on his knee injury. The also lost James Horwill, with a hand injury, and team captain James Slipper, concussed, less than 30 minutes into the game, and Force playmaker Sias Ebersohn almost immediately squared the ledger at 6-6.

The Reds would not be denied on the pitch, however, showing the character for which the state is known but that had been absent in Canberra

Reds 18-6 Force (video available only in Australia)

Will Genia hailed the team's "character".

"We had a very simple game plan as far as tactics," Genia said after leading the team in the absence of Slipper and Horwill. "We didn't want to play any footy in our own half because of the weather. I think that worked very well, and we stuck to it. At times it can be aimless and a bit boring but if you stick to it you get the reward."

The Force may have been cock-a-hoop after their shock bonus-point victory against the Waratahs in round one, but they never threatened to replicate those heroics and their night headed south as early as the fourth minute, when Francois van Wyk walked off the pitch with a shoulder injury.

The Reds scored two tries to secure a deserved victory - the first the only moment of quality in a disappointing game played in tough conditions, the second a penalty try after the Force had conceded one two many scrum penalties - and Lachlan Turner, who replaced Hunt in the starting XV on Friday, landed three penalties having assumed the kicking duties only when O'Connor withdrew 10 minutes before kick-off. The Reds were also denied a try to Chris Feauai-Sautia when a pass from O'Connor's replacement, Nick Frisby, went forward, but the penalty try just minutes later ensued they did not lament the TMO decision too long.

Reds coach Richard Graham was pleased with his team's penalty try, in particular, saying "that's just reward for all the hard work [the forwards] put in".

"We didn't represent ourselves well last week ... [but] we were really disciplined in the way we played tonight," Graham said.

Queensland's Chris Feauai-Sautia celebrates with team-mates but his try was disallowed © Getty Images

Queensland produced the one moment of quality in the game when they made a length-of-the-field break to score the opening try of the game. Chris Kuridrani made off after he had fielded one of the 40 kicks from hand in the first half deep in his own half; he changed direction to step past Marcel Brache on halfway and fed Feauai-Sautia, who linked with Samu Kerevi and the centre fed Turner, who still had to bump through a tackle to touch down.

The game never again threatened to produce such quality, and the Force, much as they showed a little more adventure with ball in hand in the final quarter, made too many basic errors as they attempted, and failed, to get within seven points.

The Force had a simple explanation for their defeat.

"Our set-piece was ordinary," Sam Wykes said. "We turned over the ball at scrum ball, we turned over the ball at lineout time; it just wasn't good enough. The Reds were up for the fight and we didn't match them tonight."

Force coach Michael Foley was equally plain spoken in describing his team's efforts, saying they would return home to face the Hurricanes in Perth "making sure we put in a performance that does the support we get justice".

"It was a disappointing performaance," Foley said. "We were out-enthused at the breakdown and beaten at the set-piece. If you can't get the core elements of the game right you're not going to get a result."

Queensland's Samu Kerevi takes a tackle © Getty Images
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