Match Review: Reds v Sharks - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Match Review: Reds v Sharks

Match Review: Reds v Sharks

digby vs sharksAfter two draws and a narrow win in their last three matches the Reds made it clear during the build-up to their match with the Sharks that they wanted to recapture some of their attacking flair. The Reds went into the match without James Horwill due to a concussion meaning Will Genia assumed the captaincy.

In preparation for the match I looked at the statistics of both teams in 2013 and there was very, very little to separate them. In recent times the Sharks have had the better of their clashes including the last time they met in the 2012 qualifying final at Suncorp, which the Sharks won to eliminate the Reds from last year’s competition. The Reds possibly went into this match with an advantage due to the massive injury toll the Sharks have suffered this year.

The Match

In front of a good crowd of just over 31,000 the Reds started poorly with Quade Cooper putting the kick off out on the full but from that point on the Reds kicked into gear – in the sixth minute a magical pass from Cooper across the face of four defenders put Saia Faingaa into a hole for the first try. In the fifteenth minute the Sharks lost the ball just five metres out from the Reds line – Genia and Cooper moved the ball quickly to Chris Feauai-Sautia who made the initial break before combining with Digby Ioane down the left touch line. Ioane then angled back in field and found Will Genia who spotted Rod Davies in the clear on the right side of the field and rather than risk the long floating pass put in a grubber kick with his left foot which Davies recovered to finish off a 95 metre movement.

The Reds were in again in the 22nd minute through Anthony Faingaa with Cooper again prominent and then Davies got his second for the night after Cooper spotted space in behind the Sharks defence and put a chip kick through. Cooper and Anthony Faingaa were first to get to Keegan Daniel who recovered the ball but then lost possession at the ruck before the ball went wide to Davies who scored the Reds bonus point try.

The Reds went into halftime leading 29-3 and well in control of the match. The Sharks made plenty of errors and poor decisions in the first half which kept presenting the Reds with possession and we heard later from their coach, John Plumtree, that this was the focus of their discussions during the break. The Sharks responded to the message from the coach and controlled their own possession much better in the second half. They also started applying strong pressure on the Reds attack, which lost some of the structure from the first half.

In the 43rd minute the Sharks went in for their first try of the night to Piet Lindeque after a good line break from Lwazi Mvovo. The Sharks then got their driving maul working and caused plenty of headaches for the Reds. In the 66th minute they went in for their second try to Derick Minnie which brought the score back to 29-17.

The Sharks certainly had the better of play throughout the second half – the Reds weren’t as crisp as they’d been in the first half but a lot of that was the result of how much better the Sharks played in the second period. In the 73rd minute Cooper scored the Reds only points of the second half with a penalty goal which killed off any hope the Sharks had of a miracle recovery. The match ended with a comfortable score line for the Reds 32-17.

The performance from the Reds in the first half was outstanding. Genia and coach Ewen McKenzie talked about their plans in the press conference with Link confirming they had worked hard to get their forwards in motion coming around the corner and Genia telling us that the players had decided to ban the pick and drive altogether this week.

The Reds didn’t respond as well as they would have liked to the pressure the Sharks applied in the second half – they’ll need a more complete performance in their next two matches against the Cheetahs and the Stormers on their tour of South Africa. The bonus point win has allowed the Reds to close the Brumbies lead at the top of the competition to just one point – the Reds performance on their tour over the next two weeks will have a major impact on where their season goes from here.

The Game Changer

Rod Davies second try after Anthony Faingaa won a ruck turnover provided the buffer for the Reds that put the match out of reach of the Sharks.

Key Performances

James Slipper got through a mountain of work and Liam Gill was once again outstanding until he went off with a slight cork. Greg Holmes played his 100th match for the Reds and was good again. Genia, Cooper and Ioane were all prominent for the Reds, continuing their recent good form.


Chris Feauai-Sautia

Chris Feauai-Sautia showed why so many people have big wraps on the kid. He was dazzling in attack and strong in defence.

The Details

Score & Scorers:



Drop Goals:

Davies (2), S. Faingaa, A. Faingaa,
Cooper – 3/4
Cooper – 2/2

Lindeque, Minnie
Lambie – 2/2
Lambie – 1/1



Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

  • Redsfan1

    Good analysis. This season the Reds seem to build big leads quickly (over Waratahs, Bulls, Highlanders, Chiefs) only to take their foot of the pedal & let other teams back in.

    I wonder if this is a fitness issue or a attitude that lacks ruthlessness? Anyway good win.

    • RedAbe

      I think it might be that they lack ruthlessness, because it seemed as though after scoring the 4 tries they went into a “defensive shell” and did not capitalize on attack opportunities.

    • Gus

      I think it has a little to do with fitness and but more to do with a lack of reliable impact players on the bench.

      If the Reds are going to finish the season strong they are going to need more consistent impact from players like Daley, AWH, Beau, Samo, and Shipperly.

      Right now they are riding their young back row and slipper into the ground because they need all 4 playing to perform well. Hopefully that 40 might play beau into a little more form the reds will need it.

      • bill

        It is a worry. Though I’d absent Daley AWH and Samo from that criticism. O’Donahugh had about the best game I’ve seen from him last night, kept his body height lower into contact than he has.

        Daley and Samo have been injured. Daley looked good to me when he’s been able to play.

        Slipper is a bit of a freak in the loose, Mealamu at his best and Bismark are probably the only other front rowers that offer that involvement.

    • bill

      Mental/focus issue, I don’t think it’s fitness, I don’t know that I’d look at it as ‘ruthlessness as such. I suspect Mackenzie would like them to develop it whatever it’s called though.

  • Donk

    Great match by the reds, f’sautia looks like a future wallaby, very complete player

    • Patrick

      He’s a definite prospect, the wallabies in a few years could have him at 13 with Folau at 15 ….

  • BloodRed

    Breath-taking first half performance.
    Second half slow down largely due to a much improved Sharks. I don’t think the Reds really dropped off much, more that the little things that went so spectacularly their way in the first half stopped falling in their favour.

    • Jimmy

      Mate I disagree. About 5 before half time they looked like they started to think “Pfft we got this one, where will we go out tonight for a beer”.

      Wish I had wandered off myself after about 40 minutes as the second half wasn’t exactly edge of the seat stuff.

      Anyone else enjoy that back slam Cooper put on? I can’t believe that bloke wasn’t concussed but I’m glad he was ok.

  • Jimmy

    Genia = genius. That kick he put through for Davies last night was absolute class and exactly the right option. 80% of other half backs would have stuffed that try.

    • Big Ted

      And almost as impressive was Sharpie’s commentary, stating that he kicked rather than passed as Davies had got too flat for Genia to be able to throw a pass that wasn’t going to be forward. Pretty good for a 2nd rower.

  • Jets

    CFS is impressing me every time he gets on the field. I felt the centres were more balanced with his presence. I think Ant looked better at 12 because of CFS outside him.
    Cooper stepped it up too. His passing game was great but I always like it when he challenges the line, something that he’s stopped doing this year. Even his kicking game was looking better.
    Gee they missed Gill when he went off. It’s a hard ask for Beau to step in and play the same role especially as he hasn’t played much of late.
    Davies looked like he might be back to his 2011 Super rugby form. Not just his 2 tries but he made some tackles in defence and also attacked the ball in the air at one stage. To me he has been backing off the confrontation this year, and last, but not last night. Welcome back Rod.
    Overall it was a good solid game. Lets hope the can consolidate on tour. I think they can manage 2 wins but it will be hard work.

  • ChumbaWumba

    I thought Quade’s paring with Genia was fantastic and his overall game excellent (first kick notwithstanding)
    I wonder if that will be enough to change RD’s mind – or his numerous critics on this site

    • > I wonder if that will be enough to change RD’s mind – or his numerous critics on this site

      I admire your optimism but no chance of that happening. Cooper gets picked on for every little mistake he makes, and his blindingly brilliance is waived away with a “he can’t step it up in the yellow” despite being our best flyhalf statistically in the Deans’ era. So… no, they won’t change their mind. Haters are gonna hate.

  • skip

    After his shoulder hit, that acting by JP Pietersen was premier league class. The only conning of the ref done better (i exclude McCaw as he probably is the ref) is by an Argentinian soccer forward i once saw on a TV in a bar somewhere.

    • bill

      The slomo on that was hilarious .

      I don’t think he ought to have worried, it was fair hit, didn’t target the head and he wasn’t leading with the shoulder.

  • bill

    A couple of the sharks really impressed me. J.P Pietersen had an exceptional game at O.C for a first timer. Not sure if he missed Chris FS on the 95 m effort, but otherwise a lot better than I was expecting.

    Mvovo, not so much for what he got to do this game, but along with Digby, Henry Speight and Rene Ranger one of the most dangerous wingers running around these days. He’d have to be the first bok winger picked this year.

    Whatever the real state of Dean’s mind over the 10 for the Lions tour vs the many speculations I think Cooper just took a 20litre tin of red paint and backed Deans into a corner.

  • bill

    Sharpie’s a bit of an upgrade to the fox commentary team innit he?

    • RH

      With you on that one Bill. I used to enjoy the little bit of dribble coming from the rest of the crew but no more!

      McArdle is great, as is Sharpe. Horan isn’t too bad but the rest drive me insane. Particularly Kearns and Cannon. Kearns’ commentry is so one-eyes it’s ridiculous and Cannon just talks sh*t… constantly using words in the wrong context makes him sound moronic.

      Tony Johnson and Justin Marshall are terrific, very professional. I would happily listen to them commentate every game of the round

      • Big Ted

        Ha. I’ll second that one on Cannon. Any surname that isn’t monosyllabic is a real test for Canno!

      • bill

        Yeah , funnily, I was thinking wouldn’t it be great if Marshall and Sharpe teamed up.

        I usually enjoy Marshall’s stuff on rugby hq, but last week he just came off as an angry ADD kiwi.

        Horan can be good but he usually has to think for a bit he doesn’t really do off the cuff.

  • J-Rugby

    QC’s defence has improve tremendously!

Queensland Reds

Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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