Reds lose to Crusaders
The Queensland Reds have lost 22-20 following a last-minute penalty goal to the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night in Round Three of Super Rugby.
A fast start to the Reds saw them lead 17-0, but the Crusaders rallied to outscore the Reds 15 points to nil in the second half.
17,931 supporters were at Suncorp Stadium for the annual Ladies Round fixture, as the Crusaders stole victory with a penalty goal after the final siren had sounded.
While disappointed to not come away with a win, Reds head coach Nick Stiles praised his side’s improved performance.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t finish the game off, but I thought the boys came out and played some of the best football we’ve played, particularly in that first half,” he said.
“The team played to what we have been working really hard on at training so it was enjoyable as a coach to see that transference.
“We were up against one of the best sides in Super Rugby history and we’ve lost to them after the full-time whistle which shows that we’ve competed.
“Performance is about results and we’re determined to chase some wins on our two-week tour of South Africa and Argentina.”
Quade Cooper opened the Reds account with a penalty goal before Mitch Hunt pushed a similar attempt wide for the Crusaders.
Samu Kerevi beat two defenders in the 12th minute, claiming the first try of the match with a powerful run from first receiver.
Early in the match, the Reds showed purpose in defence, bringing a number of Crusaders’ attacking raids to a halt with strong tackling and industrious breakdown work.
Stephen Moore showed his playmaking ability, delivering a cut-out pass to Kerevi to put the centre through a hole before he offloaded to Eto Nabuli who crossed for his fourth try of the year.
With 13 minutes remaining in the half, a Digby Ioane chip kick bounced awkwardly and was pounced on my Crusaders scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond who crossed for the Crusaders’ first try.
Cooper extended the Reds’ lead to 13 points with a long-range penalty goal in the 35th minute and the Reds held on to lead 20-7 at half time.
After the break, the match turned into an arm wrestle as both teams failed to add to their points tally.
Scott Higginbotham looked to have broken the game open as he sliced through the Crusaders’ defence, but he fell short of the try line and the Crusaders scrambled well in defence.
Bryn Hall reduced the Reds’ lead to eight points with a try in the 63rd minute before Mitch Hunt’s conversion sailed wide.
Reds prop Markus Vanzati came on in the 64th minute to make his Super Rugby debut, as Queensland Representative Number 1310.
Crusaders replacement flanker Jordan Taufua was sent to the sin bin for striking in the 69th minute but the Reds failed to capitalise as possession escaped them.
Hall made it a one-point ball game, dotting down against the upright to take the scores to 20-19 with four minutes remaining.
A penalty in the dying stages was awarded to the Crusaders and Mitch Hunt stepped up, slotting the penalty goal to steal victory from the Reds.
The Reds travel to South Africa on Monday and will face the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday 19 March at 1:15am (AEST).
Crusaders 22 (Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall 2 tries; Mitch Hunt 2 cons, 1 pen goals) def. Queensland Reds 20 (Samu Kerevi, Eto Nabuli tries; Quade Cooper 2 con; Cooper 2 pen goals) at Suncorp Stadium.
News Source: Queensland Rugby/Reds Media