The Reds’ scrum was crucial the win against the Rebels.
The Reds beat the Rebels in Brisbane in a game that will be soon forgotten for the lacklustre level on display.
The Rebels needed a win to keep alive their hopes for a first playoff berth in their history, while Reds’ season was long over after a sub-par campaign.
As it happened last week versus the Waratahs, the Rebels were their own worst enemy, incapable of capitalising on their possession and with crucial errors that gave the game away.
The Reds can thank their incredibly dominant scrum, that earned them 20 points, and Jono Lance, who made the rest with the boot and with his solo try.
Colby Fainga’a played his 100th Super Rugby match
A Reece Hodge penalty opened the scores after 10 minutes, Jono Lance equalised four minutes later, in a slow starting game where both teams struggled to find space and continuity.
At the 20th minute, the Reds had a chance to go ahead, but they opted for a line out instead of a penalty kick and they lost the ball on their own throw.
Counting on their powerful scrum the Queenslanders won three penalties in a row 5 meters from the try line and forced a penalty try.
After a controversial quick restart from the penalty try, the Rebels pushed deep in the Reds 22 and the visitors took only one minute to found the perfect counter with Hodge and Ruru combining for Cottrell’s first major in 2018.
Cottrell scoring the first Rebels’ try
Ruru again mastered the second Rebels’ try, scored by Maddocks with a powerful run in the middle that caught the home team completely off guard.
As for the last five minutes of the last game, the Rebels suffered a terrible amnesia and paid dearly for their errors.
Before the first half siren, the Reds knocked twice at the visitor’s door. First with a try by Rodda, who blocked Maddocks kick from the 22 meters and scored the equaliser. Then the powerful Reds’ scrum forced again two penalties in a row and a hello card for Rebels’ prop Faulkner, unable to contain Tupou.
With a man down the Rebels conceded the third try to the home team, Daugunu crossing the chalk after a nice offload from Captain Higginbotham.
First half score: Reds – Rebels 24 – 17
The numerical inferiority didn’t dog the visitors in the first minutes of the second half. Reece Hodge powerful boot kept the Rebels in touch with the Reds. The first of his two penalties scored despite the ball falling from the kicking tee.
16 minutes into the half it was the Reds’ turn to lose a player to the sin bin: Paia’aua paying for all after being caught offside by referee Williams.
Haley-Petty made the home team almost pay for their error on the subsequent action with a powerful run in the middle, but Higginbotham saved his team with a last effort tackle on opposite Captain English.
After this, the Rebels weren’t able to capitalise on the advantage and the home team survived the scare.
The Reds scored a kick with ten minutes to go with Lance after yet another scrum penalty to put regain a four points advantage.
Just two minutes after the ex-Force player scored a solitary try and with one minute to go the final penalty that sealed the game for the Reds
Final score: Reds – Rebels 37 – 23
Seven from seven from the tee for Jono Lance
The Wrap Up
The Rebels managed to lose the match that should have kept their playoff hopes alive. The Reds were far superior in the scrum, the rest of the game saw a kicking contest between Lance and Hodge and some rare episodes of brilliance in a poor display for Australian rugby.
The Game Changer
Reds’ penalty try at the 27th minute was the pinnacle of a display of brutal force from their scrum. This came after three penalties in a row at the scrum to set the pace for the rest of the game.
The G&GR MOTM
Not being able to give the prize to the entire Reds’ scum, we have to pick Taniela Tupou. His power was worth the ticket for an honestly bad match of footy. The rest of the players were either building around his strength or fearing it.
Many of the players on the pitch figured in the Wallabies team that faced Ireland in June. For the upcoming Rugby Championship Cheika couldn’t have much new information, with Hodge confined to the bench by the “utility back” label and Maddocks still needing to beef up, only Sorovi made an impression as possible inclusion, should Will Genia not be able to recover in time from his arm injury.
Score & Scorers
Reds 37 (24)
Tries: Penalty Try, Rodda, Daugunu, Lance
Conversions: Lance 3/3
Penalties: Lance 3/3
Tries: Cottrell, Maddocks
Conversions: Hodge 3/3
Penalties: Hodge 1/1
Cards & citings
YC: Faulkner (40′ – 50′), Paia’aua (56′ – 66′)