Reds win season opener against Sharks

Friday February 24, 2017

The Queensland Reds have got their season off to a winning start with a 28-26 win over the Sharks in their first outing of the 2017 Super Rugby season at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Samu Kerevi scored a double which helped the Queensland Reds fend off the Sharks.
Photo courtesy of QRU Media Unit

The Reds outscored the Sharks four tries to two in a gruelling encounter where the Sharks lead until the 73rd minute.

A second-half double to Samu Kerevi saw the Reds come from behind before James Tuttle sealed the victory scoring a try with his second touch of the ball.

Reds head coach Nick Stiles noted his side’s determination to stay in the match in front of 15,015 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

“To win those tight games and show character like that, it’s what you build success off,” he said.

“In terms of combinations, this side has come together in the past few weeks, so it was pleasing to think we had the character and the courage to stick at it and come through playing some good Rugby.

“It’s a good lesson for us to learn, it’s round one and we fought hard and got a win.”

Early in the match, the Reds had plenty of possession but failed to apply scoreboard pressure as errors brought promising passages of play to an end.

The Sharks were first to score after a dropped ball was swooped on by Lukhanyo Am who dished to Jean-Luc du Preez for the opening try of the match.

In the sixth minute, a penalty for not releasing the ball carrier allowed Quade Cooper to reduce the Sharks lead to four points.

Sharks captain Patrick Lambie responded ten minutes later with a penalty goal of his own after Scott Higginbotham was penalised for not rolling away.

Both sides continued to trade penalty goals in the opening quarter as handling errors thwarted a number of Reds try-scoring opportunities.

Handed a line-out inside their own 22m, the Sharks looked to play the ball quickly, but Adam Korczyk showed great awareness to crunch fullback Curwin Bosch, forcing a turnover.

The ensuing turnover handed the Reds a golden opportunity and in his return to Suncorp Stadium, Scott Higginbotham crossed for the Reds first try. Cooper’s conversion was successful, levelling the scores at 13-all.

A penalty right on the cusp of half time handed the Sharks a three-point lead as the teams headed into the sheds.

As the teams returned, the Reds eagerness early in the second stanza saw them penalised for offside, giving the Sharks a six-point buffer.

Awarded a penalty in the 49th minute, the Reds opted for the scrum and were immediately rewarded when Samu Kerevi beat two defenders and crashed over for the Reds second try of the evening.

After Kane Douglas was sent to the sin bin in the 56th minute the Sharks capitalised with a Rolling maul try to Lubabalo Mtembu.

The Reds reclaimed the kick-off and had the visitors back peddling before Nick Frisby fired a ball to Kerevi who crashed over for his double.

With nine minutes remaining in the match, a slick backline move saw Duncan Paia’aua slice through the Sharks defence before he found James Tuttle looming up the inside. With his first touch of the evening Tuttle finished off the manoeuvre to hand the Reds the lead.

In the 76th minute Patrick Lambie had a chance to regain the lead but his kick sailed wide for the first time of the night.

Queensland Reds 28 (Scott Higginbotham, Samu Kerevi 2, James Tuttle tries; Quade Cooper 2 con; Cooper 3 pen goals) def. The Sharks 26 (Jean-Luc du Preez, Lubabalo Mtembu tries; Patrick Lambie 2 cons, 4 pen goals) at Suncorp Stadium.

News Source: Queensland Rugby/Reds Media