Reds hang on for vital victory
April 23, 2010
Peter Grant is levelled by the Reds' defence
© Getty Images
The Reds continued their surge for a Super 14 play-off place by out-lasting the high-flying Stormers 16-13 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
Centre Will Chambers scored the home side's try in front of a bumper crowd of 30,259 as they fought back from an early score by giant Stormers lock Andries Bekker. Fly-half Quade Cooper landed 11 points with the boot, eclipsing eight from his opposite number Peter Grant.
The result leaves Ewen McKenzie's Reds handily placed in third prior to the Crusaders and Bulls' weekend games, while their losing bonus-point has moved the Stormers top temporarily on points difference.
The Reds proved once again that behind their flash exterior lies a truckload of guts and heart and they defended resolutely in the closing stages to deny their rivals, ensuring that they picked up back-to-back victories over South African contenders. Last weekend's 19-12 victory over the champions, the Bulls, was added to an earlier thrashing of the Crusaders and marked the underdogs as genuine contenders.
Cooper and his halfback partner, skipper Will Genia, have lit up the tournament this year but conspired to gift the Stormers an early lead. Cooper's kick-off went out on the full and the Stormers attacked, with Reds centre Anthony Faingaa bringing down Bekker just in the nick of time as the lock ignored Bryan Habana's outside run. The Springbok rounded off the opening try moments later though as a Genia mistake was punished first by a carry from Duane Vermeulen and then by Bekker forcing his way over.
Cooper missed his opening pair of penalties but found his range to slot two long-rangers before the break and ensure that it was a one-point game at the hooter. He snaffled the lead after the restart with his third kick of the night and was then the architect of Chambers' score. With the Reds showing patience and good ball retention, Cooper struck with a cross-kick, which bounced invitingly for midfielder Chambers to crash over.
Grant pegged the home side back with two shots from the kicking tee, but the Reds had the defence to see out another vital win in what is becoming a fairytale season. Genia almost had the last say when he forced his way across the Stormers' line in the dying seconds, to rob them of a consolation point, only to be denied by the TMO.