Qld Reds vs Sharks match review
Queensland Reds

Reds mauled by Sharks

Reds mauled by Sharks

The Sharks: plenty of talent up front

The Sharks: plenty of size up front

It’s probably the closest you could come to being happy with a loss and you’d suspect that’s how the Reds may be feeling after playing some top shelf rugger, missing the out on the win by a whisker, and snagging two bonus points along the way.

Yep, things could be far worse. The Reds are still afloat in the race for the finals having taken 6 points from two games in South Africa and with the prospect of facing the bottom placed team next week, there is reason for optimism.

On the negative side however it is the second time this season the Reds have given up a match winning lead to lose a crucial match. The first was against the Tahs in week one when the Reds problems were largely self-inflicted, but against the Sharks, it was an inability to deal with the physical presence and adapt to the way the game evolved.

The Sharks simply bashed the Reds out of it in the second half using brutally simple forward play after being kept in the game in the first half by a constant stream of penalties from referee Chris Pollock.

The Reds also failed to deal with the Sharks’ tactic of Ryan Kankowski speeding up out of the line two channels wide of the ruck in an effort to disrupt the interplay between Genia and Cooper. This effort paid dividends as Genia didn’t have the same impact on the game as he has in recent weeks.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Sharks’ maul was pretty effective. I’m not sure what the record for a rolling maul is but the Sharks would have given it a shake with one that started near enough to half-way and ended with a penalty on the Reds try-line.

That was pretty much the story of the final 35 minutes. The Reds were stuck in their own half with the Sharks making ground at will. The pressure this built allowed the Sharks to come back from a 12 point deficit just after half time to lead by 9 with ten minutes to play.

The Reds stuck at it however and showed that they are one of the most dynamic attacking teams in the competition with Spuddie Holmes going over in the final stages and Diggers unleashing a 75 metre dash after the siren which nearly stole the match.

Quade Cooper played the best game of his career combining devastating running with accurate passing and a controlled kicking. He defended stoically, scored a try and made three or four clean line breaks in a performance that will have ensured he gets first crack at the Wallabies no.10 jersey.

Another positive was the continuing education of Will Chambers at outside centre. He seems to have sorted out where he needs to be in defence and was able to position himself in attack on both sides of the field, a hard lesson to learn for a league centre.

As I said, it is hard to enthuse too much about a loss however Link was certainly not slitting his wrists either. Speaking after the game he praised the effort of his team but also pointed to where the game was lost

“They were very physical and we didn’t do enough to counter that. They also got away with some things that we were penalised for, but good luck to them.

“It was a contrast in styles of rugby and on the night the Sharks were able to do enough to win. If a couple of things had gone our way it could have been different. But they (the Reds) are a young side and they showed they were prepared to keep attacking right to the end.

“It’s not all gloom and doom. Not too many sides score four tries here and we’ll take two bonus points from it.”

A feature of the Reds this year is that mistakes made in one game have not been replicated in a following onee. The lesson from this game comes in the form of how to deal with a physically dominant pack.

This is a lesson that will serve them well as the finals draw closer.

  • BRIX

    Good write-up JC.

    Must be said though that the game was lost when Quade had a brain fart early on in the second half when he didn’t go long off the 22 drop out, his team were up by 2 tries.

    Higgenbotham knocked on and the Sharks scored a few phases after the ensuing scrum.

    We all know what happened after that.

    • Jason

      Bit harsh to blame it on Quade’s kick…as JC said, the Reds lost because they couldn’t shut down the Sharks forwards.

      • BRIX

        Tis a little harsh – agreed. I just feel as if he hasn’t the cool head required.

        Quade is the cow that makes you 2 litres of milk, only to kick over the bucket and spill 1.

        • BRIX

          P.S. I want to see new interpretation on mauls. I spotted no less than 3 truck and trailers being applied by the Sharks.

  • Ballboy

    Not to mention the fact that QC has done that plenty of times this year and has resulted in a try for the Reds. If you want him to play exciting expansive rugby he’s going to slip at at some stage.

    • BRIX

      Regather perhaps, not a try.

      I’m not trying to be an asshole but name one instance in where the Reds scored off of a regather from a 22 drop out this season, please. You cannot deny the fact that this was a major swing in momentum when the Reds were up 9-21. He should have gone deep, full stop.

  • wannabprop

    Not wanting to make excuses, coz the Sharks probably deserved the win, but what about the other ‘tactic’ of bodies lying at the base of the ruck in the guise of ‘rolling away’. I had a disrupted (internet) feed, but I don’t ever remember seeing Genia stepping sideways (often over bodies) as much as last night. The commentator mentioned he always does it, and that was an area the Sharks wanted to target. What do others think – is Genia another Gregan in more ways than one, although already ‘better’?

  • Ben

    This was a great game…..the reds will come away with 2 from 3 from the tour and 11 points…that is a great result and sets them up for a finals run…next 2 at home.

    Cooper was fantastic, and the deans has to be licking his lips with this reds beackline behind the Tahs front row.

  • Robson

    Quade had a very impressive game. He certainly came away from the average performace he put in against the Cheetahs. What other flyhalf in the S14 has made as many line breaks this season from set play? None. In fact my reckoning is that he probably makes, on average, at least two a game. Also his kick to Morahan’s wing was a pearler and was just a whisker away from resulting in a try. Quade must have Robbie Deans thinking hard right now. And I can’t believe I’m saying all this because in Quade Cooper I was not a believer. I’ve often changed my mind about a player over a couple of seasons, but not within the space of half a dozen games.

    The Reds forwards performed well in the set piece, but didn’t front up to the Sharks robust pick and go and rolling maul. Pat Lamb said the other day that the maul was easy to counteract and the Blues showed that against the Bulls, but the Sharks mauling is a true rolling maul and Pat is dreaming, it’s not easy to counteract, unless you can block off the split when it happens. That too is easier said than done.

    I also thought there were a couple of occassions when the Reds left just a bit to much open space on the flanks. It eventually cost them a try.

    Chris Pollock let a lot of off side play by the Sharks go too. I was pretty pissed off with the amount of latitude they got there.

    Overall though there is not a lot to grumble about. The Reds still came away with two points and owing to their high points differential are now sitting just outside the top four. And it is the points differential which is keeping the Brumbies out of the running right now. It is not enough to just win games. When the log jam starts to intensify at the top of the table, tries scored will be very, very important.

    The Reds have things to work on, but they have been a revelation this season and well worth getting up at 3.00 o’clock in the morning to watch.

    On a different note, the Blues are chock full of talent and don’t actually realise it. The Brumbies are chock full of talent and, sadly, can’t get out of their own way for it. The Reds have hardly any “name” talent at all and are playing like they have stacks of it.

  • in a performance that will have ensured he gets first crack at the Wallabies no.10 jersey.

    hehe

  • Conor

    I think quades great running was a blow to the ‘Anti-Bunny Hop Association’

    It sure was effective.

  • Tangawizi

    I hope the Reds themselves aren’t counting next weekends game as a guaranteed 5 pointer.

    The Lions win at Suncorp last year was one of the Reds most disappointing efforts of all time so hopefully the boys will be out to make up for that embarrassment.

  • Coatsie

    Well done The Reds; when the Queensland RU is strong traditionally the Australian Rugby is strong. Bring it on.

    I thought the refereeing was shithouse.

    That bloke is a mug; what a mess. It was more Jackson Pollack than Chris Pollack. And apart from his drop-sheet paintings he was an arrogant drunk, which is what Chris Pollack referered like.

    Also the Saffas usually are fair and impartial in their commentary yet the team working thet match were almost bigger one-eyed-whingers than the moaner from over the dutch. Fancy whinging about Coooper’s brain-burst trip against the Cheeters when Bismark did the same thing a few weeks back. Thanks Dr Du Plessis for the pain prescription…

    As the panel on Fox’s Rugby Clubhouse said; Cooper is something special however it’s Genia who is making him 3 meters faster and all the dancing in the world wont help when class acts like Ritchie McCaw, Rodney So’oialo and Dan Carter are running at you in Black Jerseys intent on ruining your day.

    Also, I wonder if Quade bunnyhop-skips like that late at night with a Laptop under his arm..?

    • Reddy!

      hahaha, I have some funny imagery in my mind right now.

    • Lindommer

      It wasn’t Bismark who tripped Hangers, it was his brother.

  • Coatsie

    I stand corrected Lindommer you are quite correct, it was Dr Jannie…

    Neither are to be confused this guy:

Queensland Reds
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Mr Consistently Average

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