Super Rugby
Graham hits out at 'disgraceful' Reds
ESPN Staff
May 8, 2015
The Reds had no answer to the Crusaders' second-half onslaught © Getty Images

Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has slammed as "disgraceful" his side's second-half capitulation to the Crusaders on Friday that saw the Super Rugby battlers sink to a worrying new low.

The Crusaders breezed to a 58-17 win at AMI Stadium on Friday, having piled on a whopping six unanswered tries after the break - including four in an abysmal 10-minute stretch from Queensland. Despite going into the interval with a genuine shot at victory at 15-10 down, the Reds simply gave up the ghost as soon as Nemani Nadolo tore away for an intercept try in the opening minute of the second stanza.

A furious Graham did not hold back in his assessment of the match, which was easily Queensland's worst showing in a season that has brought nothing but misery at every turn.

Crusaders 58-17 Reds (video available in Australia only)

"There are absolutely no excuses for that performance other than it lacked character and it lacked integrity," Graham said. "At 15-10 we'd scrapped and we'd fought and stayed in it ... but then the next 25 minutes in particular was disgraceful. That's not acceptable at any level of football let alone Super Rugby. We've let the organisation down badly, we've let the jersey down. I'm as disappointed as you can be after a result like that."

Rubbing salt into the wounds are injuries to captain James Slipper (groin), who spent almost the entire second half off the field, and fullback Lachie Turner (knee), who endured a torrid night defending the Reds' line in the face of an all-out onslaught.

From a Crusaders perspective, it was the ideal farewell for departing quartet Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor in what was almost certainly their last provincial game in front of the Christchurch faithful. Carter, Slade and Taylor are moving overseas next year while McCaw is expected to retire after September's World Cup.

Queensland actually controlled possession and territory in the first 40 minutes but only capitalised on their statistical dominance with the last play of the half, when Samu Kerevi barged his way through a stubborn Crusaders defence to bring the scoreline back to 15-10.

But any hope Kerevi's effort might had given them was quickly erased with Nadolo's intercept of a James O'Connor short ball and subsequent restoration of a healthy buffer. Minutes later O'Connor missed an easy penalty, leaving Queensland lagging 22-10 behind. From there on it was easy pickings for the Crusaders as Nadolo, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Jone Macilai and Bird crossed for second-half tries with disturbing ease.

Graham said the Reds simply had to win back the respect of their supporters by the end of the season. "The review's not going to be pretty - people aren't going to want to sit there and see that," he said.


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