The Reds recorded their first win of the season with a bonus-point victory over the Sunwolves on Saturday. It was a record Super Rugby score for the Reds.
The score – 64-5, 10 tries to one – is a fair reflection of the difference between the two sides. In fact, 50-0 after 48 minutes was an even more accurate reflection of the difference, but then the Reds sent on their replacements and the match became messy, desultory at best, till the Japanese Foreign Legion, also known as the Sunwolves, scored a try and the Reds got together and scored two more tries.
It was a happy evening at Suncorp Stadium for the young (average age 23) Reds and should boost their confidence for tough encounters to come, starting with the Sharks next week.
It took the Sunwolves over an hour to make a positive contribution to the match, and that seemed enough for them. They were outplayed at the set pieces, conceded more penalties and were way behind in skills and ideas.
The Reds showed their intentions right from the start. They attacked first with running and passing. That took over two minutes and, when the Sunwolves were penalised in front of their posts, the Reds kicked out for a lineout and a try to Liam Wright, which the TMO confirmed. After four minutes, the Reds led 5-0.
At half-time it was 36-O after prop Taniela Tupou ended a series of phases by bursting over near the posts and then outside centre Paisami Hunter burst through after another penalty had produced another lineout. Then Henry Speight cut in from the left about 50 metres out and gave inside to Tate McDermott who ran 20 metres to the posts.
Ben Te’o, the Sunwolves centre, was yellowcarded for a dangerous tackle and went off with a smile.
From his own 10-metre line eager fullback Jock Campbell counterattacked as far as the visitors’ 22. The ball went out to the left where Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was over in the corner.
The Reds won a turnover, James O’Connor broke and gave to Speight who gave back inside to O’Connor to score just before half-time.
The first try of the second half had an idiotic feel about it. The Reds, who were dominating scrums, were dominated at a scrum and penalised. Scrumhalf Naoto Saito tapped, ran and passed straight back to nobody. McDermott footed ahead, fetched and scored. When Hamish Stewart incepted and ran 45 metres to score, the Reds score got ahead of the time at 50-0 after 48 minutes.
For 18 minutes, no points were scored, astonishing in such a match, and when one came it was the Sunwolves who scored it. A delightful diagonal kick by substitute Keisuke Moriya landed in the arms of starving Siosaia Fifita who beat Speight and scored in the right corner.
There was no late resurgence from the Sunwolves. When they chipped ahead, Scott Malolua gave to Campbell who raced through on counterattack and prop Josh Nasser enjoyed scoring near the posts.
For the last try, Isaac Lucas snapped up a disregarded ball and ran 20 metres or so to score to make the score 64-5 with eight minutes to play.
Man of the Match: Jock Campbell is a serious contender with the tries he made and the points he scored but our choice is James O’Connor who had a chance to give full expression to his numerous talents. He it was who set the Reds running from the start
Tries: Wright, Tupou, Paisami, McDermott 2, Salakaia-Loto, O’Connor, Stewart, Nasser, Lucas
Cons: J.Campbell 6
Yellow card: Ben Te’o (Sunwolves, 31)
Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish
Stewart, 11 Henry Speight, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry
Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Angus Blyth, 4
Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ed Craig, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Isaac Lucas, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Ben
Te’o, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Garth April, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Jake
Schatz, 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Kyo Yoshida, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Corey
Thomas, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Effie Ma’afu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Keisuke Moriya, 21 Shogo Nakano.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jordan Way (Australia), Aaron Pook (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)