This was a game many of the Reds faithful had marked out as one the team could probably do without them, but with the news that the prodigal son Quade,was back, they turned out.
As it happened
The Lions were staying true to form at the start of the match, running everything. The Reds had to do plenty of tackling. Eventually the gave a penalty away in a kickable position, and Elton Jantjies slotted it to take the Lions into the lead.
This continued and when the Lions kicked a midfield bomb, Kev had lined himself under the high ball. Just as the former Kenmore Bears AFC full-forward was about to take it, Quade’s enthusiasm got the better of him and he went for the speccy.
Quade was getting his confidence back, and though he didn’t jink, he did get around a defender. With the Lions on the back foot the Reds pressed on. They were nearly rewarded when Scott Higginbotham was prevented from crossing by the goal posts. They recycled the ball and Liam Gill crossed for the Reds’ first try. Mike Harris added the extras.
Gill earned another pilfer and with the quick ball Genia put up a box kick that nearly came off. The bounce was a bit hard to take for chasers Quade and Shipperley but it somehow ended up in Kev’s hands, though he was chased down before he could make the line. Shortly after the Lions gave away a penalty and Mike Harris added 3.
As the Reds’ possession stats grew, the Lions started to give away penalties. One 45 metres out was converted into 3 points by Mike Harris.
The Lions defended stolidly for the rest of the half and the Reds were unable to find a way through. Not even a late scrum could give them the same after the siren joy as last week, with the ball being held up over the line ending the half.
The Reds went to oranges leading 13–6 and still 3 tries short of their vital bonus point. Though the possession had righted itself (56% in the Reds’ favour compared to 29% at the 10 minute mark), if they keep their heads, the points will come.
The Reds took the field in the second half without Quade, but just kept on rolling. When Franco Van Der Merwe felt the need to have a crack from the side with his hands while the Reds were attacking hard on the line. While he spent 10 minutes freshening up, the Reds rumbled over for a try, Saia Faingaa coming up with it in his hands. Mike Harris added the extras.
Not long after, Ben Lucas left the field with a groin twinge, though we are told it is precautionary. This saw Chris F’Sautia come on. Validating all the people who have been talking him up, with he second touch he was on the end of a great break to score his first Super Rugby try. Mike Harris kept his 100% for the night intact by adding the extras.
Will Genia gave the Reds the bonus point, with another long range effort, in what is becoming a trade mark dash to the same part of Suncorp. Mike Harris added the extras to make the score 34–6.
In a sign a foot may have come off the throat a little, or just that the Lions do actually know the rules, the Lions ran in a try. Elton Jantjies added the extras.
The Reds appeared to clock off somewhat at this point. That or the Lions were sick of being the fluffy bunnies of the comp and decided to play as the Reds were finding themselves under pressure. All this pressure eventually told when the Lions, playing with advantage, got Jaco Kriel over for another try. Elton Jantjies added the extras.
Even with that last thrust from the Lions, the Reds with their bench emptied still did enough to get the 5 points that are so crucial to their campaign. Clearly the tail end of that game was about preserving themselves for the Brumbies match, but it will be heartening to Ewen and the coaching team to have taken the 5 points and everyone coming through relatively unscathed.
Reds 34 (Try: Gill, S.Faingaa, F’Sautia, Genia Cons: Harris 4/4, Pens: Harris 2/2) defeat Lions 20 (Try: Bezuidenhout, Kriel Cons: Jantjies 2/2 Pens: Jantjies 1/1 DG: Coetzee 0/1)
Man of the Match: Will Genia
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