Reds V Force- The Growth of Two Teams - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds V Force- The Growth of Two Teams

Reds V Force- The Growth of Two Teams

After last week’s not-so-splendid spectacle against the Rebels, the Reds return to Brisbane to face a Force team keen to do all sorts of damage to anyone and everyone they think wronged them. Can the Reds put on a more coherent, structured 80 minutes? Will the Force make the Reds the first victim of their redemption tour? Let’s find out.


Beautiful conditions greet us in Brisbane. calm and clear, a bit chilly by Brisbane standards. The Reds kick off and we are under way! Two early penalties while on attack killed any early momentum the Reds might have been looking for. A third penalty put some pressure on the Reds but some solid maul defence and a turnover in a wild ruck saw it off.  We then settled down for a bit of  kicking duel with the Reds finding the territory advantage.

Lineouts (or the lack of success in them) was again an issue, with the Reds losing two of their first three throws. Ten minutes are down and the Force have an advantage for offside, Jono Lance has a pass knocked down, and ref Nick Berry had the whistle in his mouth, a few Reds hesitated and Marcel Brache gets a great ball to Jack Macgregor on the left and he scores in the corner. A great conversion from Prior and it’s 7-0 Force.

Almost immediately the Force are in again, Brache again linking wide with Stander who threw the last pass to Byron Ralston on the right. Prior again converts from the sideline and all of a sudden it’s 14-0 Force after 15 minutes.

The Reds maintain some composure and hit back. A bullocking Feauai-Sautia run on the right opened space on the left and after both Salakaia-Loto and Hoopert nearly spilled it in succession, O’Connor found Brandon Paenga-Amosa and he crunched Jono Lnace to score. O’Connor made the kick from the side and it’s 14-7.

A mid-field scrum found a great opportunity for the Reds, and they immediately capitalised. Hamish Stewart found Hunter Paisami running a gorgeous line and he burst through the Force line, and linked with Jock Campbell who was able to run it under the posts and it’s 14 all just like that.

The Reds poured it on once more, off a James O’Connor 50-22 kick and the resulting limeout saw several phases of forward plunges until Taniela Tupou burrowed over. With the conversion the Reds have put on 21 points in 10 minutes. 21-10 Reds.

In the shadows of half time the Reds were attacking with numbers on the left. James O’Connor threw a flat ball to Paisami which was intercepted by Byron Ralston who ran 90m for his double. Incredibily, the conversion was blocked by Filipo Daugunu and we go into the sheds with the Reds up 21-19. It could so easily have been 28-14.

We kick off and an early Force error leads to a Reds scrum and on the right, some clever tip passing from Paisami to Stewart and then finding Daugunu on the wing who again hot stepped his way around two defenders to score. Another O’Connor conversion and it is 28-19 Reds.

After 55 minutes, Liam Wright tried a reprise of  his disallowed effort, and came around a ruck and grounded the ball.  The TMO again denied him and ruled a 5m scrum. After all that excitement we are where we were five minutes prior.

We go through the usual doldrums where substitutions interrupt the flow of the game. Taniela Tupou nearly made a mirror intercept of Ralstons earlier intercept, but it was blown up for a penalty.

A window of light opened for the Force with ten minutes to go- Hunter Paisami tipped Kyle Godwin and deservedly got a yellow card. From the lineout, a few phases ensured that ex-Red Andrew Ready dove over. Lance doinked the kick and it is 28-24 Reds with 9 minutes remaining. Squeaky bum time it is.

Some desperation attacking ensued from the Force as they tried to win it from everywhere. A calmer head would have said that a slow march up the field with a man advantage would have likely worked but each to their own. After another Force turnover, the Reds marched downfield and James O’Connor lurked in the pocket. He duly converted with a wobbly droppy an with a minute to go it is 31-24 Reds.

A crowd of 6,890 witnessed the game which was another step in the evolution of this Reds side, and not a disgrace for a Force side that needs games like these to learn after a few years as the big fish in the pond. Too many penalties given away did at some point threaten to derail the Reds but ultimately they prevailed.


The turning point was the second try for the Force. Down 14-0 the REds found a way to wake up and from that point on did not look like losing. There was a sense they had control and could respond when called upon. Still not a 80 minute performance but you take them when you can.

The last ten minutes caused some tension but the way the Force panicked in attack really meant that it perhaps was not as close or as tense as it could have been.



The man of the match was close and really despite throwing the intercept it goes to James O’Connor. His calmness in the last few minutes was a stark contrast to the panic displayed by the Force. Honourable mentions go to Hamish Stewart and Filipo Daugunu. Daugunu got through a lot of defensive work and looked lively each time he had the ball.


Assuming any sort of eligiblity issues are sorted Filipo Daugunu comes into focus on the wing. His three tries in Super Rugby AU have not been through pace but the balance and footwork.  Jono Lance was solid and composed and could easily find his way into a squad at some point. Hamish Stewart is also providing excellent support at 12 to the players inside and outside him. Byron Ralston would not look out of place in there somewhere either.


Reds –  
Tries: Campbell, Paenga-Amosa, Tupou, Daugunu
Conv: O’Connor 4
Field Goal: O’Connor 1

Tries: Macgregor, Ralston 2, Ready,
Conv: Prior 2


Hunter Paisami got the yellow card for the lift on Kyle Godwin


  • nameface

    Loved it. As physical and skillful a club match as you’ll find anywhere. If NZ are going to take the piss then I really think (with our lord and saviour Twiggy), we could go domestic + Pacific island team(s).

    • paul

      Bloody oath, Domestic it is.

    • Adrian

      (s) is right. 3 I’d say

  • Bobas

    Rugby Reg gave the force the kiss of death naming Prior the best goal kicker in the comp.
    Any brums fan remembers he had to hand over the duties to the Moggster agains the BIL.

  • Hoss

    Thought it a good contest. Willing in the combative stuff. Expressive in the backs and good enterprise shown by all. Lance looked all class and Priors departure slowed the force somewhat but they never gave up the chase. FKA got through plenty of work, Wilson again terrific. As was little Poey & Daugunu is surely on a gold trajectory. Also keen to see more of the young force winger and how he fares over a season, shocking haircut, but pace and talent to burn.

    Much improved from last weeks serving of dogs breakfast from Oz sides. Enough for me to boldly predict that we won’t lose a match to any Kiwi side on this type of form.

  • Interesting bit of reporting. Two of the first three lineouts lost, but only two lineouts lost in the whole game for the Reds. 80% completion isn’t great, but it’s not terrible in his truncated season.

    At first look this game seemed far better than last week’s effort from both sides. After a bit of musing I got to wondering why? I mean, last week the Force fell off after the first half and got run over by the baby-Tahs. This week they seemed to keep going for the full 80. Equally, last week the Reds looked frankly uninterested, but this week they looked up for the match.

    The Reds turn around could be down to the weather I guess. It looks like they have two prongs to their attack, either trundle it tight through the forwards, or really wide through their wingers, and avoid the centres at all costs. In the rain, they’re missing one of those, and it showed, making them really easy to defend against. Add a bit of a kick up the backside about attitude and they came out ready to play. But how did the Force basically manage to play for the full 80? Granted they had ten minutes against only 14 players, but that was pretty much at the end of the game, and they were still looking up for it. You can’t put that much extra conditioning into a side in a week, not that I’ve ever seen anyway… So were the Reds that much easier to play against than the Tahs?

    It was pretty noticeable that although JOC certainly had his moments in the 10 channel, he looked far more dangerous when he was stood wider, in what would classically be the 12 channel. Often it was a pass on from a forward but while I think he’s got all the skills to play at 10, he doesn’t have the hours of time there, reading the game, making the decisions in the time required and give hime that extra fraction of a second in the wider position, that different view of the paddock, and he just looks so much more comfortable and leads the team so much better…

    Still, it was great to see an exciting match, full of resolve, vigour and effort, and quite a bit of skill.

    • Brumby Runner

      Agree pretty much with all you’ve said EP. The surprise to me was that the Reds really had the stronger lineout after the first two shambles. ASY took a number of catches as well.

      Reds were definitely stronger out wide. Not only Daugunu, but CFS also had a very strong game. I thought there wasn’t a lot between the two packs, and it certainly wasn’t a walkover for the Reds at scrum time.

      JOC definitely a lot more comfortable when playing a little wider.

      LSL MOTM for me.

      • RedAnt

        Yep, JOC better this week but still not really MOTM for mine. He’s a quality player and clearly working hard as he’s definitely improving as a 10, so good on him. But agree, LSL a more deserving MOTM – he did some great work in tight and was an excellent link between forwards and backs. Some great touches at critical moments.

      • I think LSL is better in the 8 jersey personally, but he certainly had a good game didn’t he.

        • Reds Revival

          Did you mean the 6 jersey, as he has never played in the 8 jersey? I think he will have some serious competition at 6 with Wright and Swinton. LSL is a shoe in at 5.

        • No, I meant 8. He might not have the feet for the back of the scrum, which might be why he’s played on the blindside, but he looks more like a loose forward than a second row to me and, to be honest, more like an 8 than a 6.

          And while lineout effectiveness is not the only measure of a lock’s ability, if it were, we’d be picking the Tahs second rowers as the best in the world right now…

      • Mica

        Best game I have seen CFS play for ages. He’s a great player when in the mood. Unfortunately, he’s looked disinterested too often.

    • idiot savant

      On conditioning, did Sampson manage the bench better than last week and get the reserves on earlier? Also I think last weeks game them confidence that they were good enough to mix it with the super teams so that would have helped. Lance was noticeably better this week too after another week learning his fellow players and the systems. Plus they knew they fell off last week and would’ve been busting a gut to stay up.

      Interesting point about Thorn’s game strategies. The pick and drive game has been a fixture since Thorn started and this season they have added offloading in tight. This is the first season they’ve gone wide (and they’re so much better for it). The last 2 seasons featured 2 non distributors in the centres Kerevi and CFS just smashing it up. It was a total failure. The biggest attacking development in Reds play has been Stewart at 12. With 2 sweet passers in OConnor and Stewart, the Reds were the leading try careers in super rugby before the break.

      I agree JOC is not the perfect 10 but gee he is providing some spark (and some intercepts!). Stewart went to first receiver a few times and I think mixing it up works. They were doing that before the break.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEah I am not sure that intercept was 100% JOC’s fault this week. I think it was CFS had drifted just that little bit wider.

      • The Reds definitely have some work to do, and I’d swap their 13 for the guy in the Force 13 jersey in a heartbeat. (I’m on my phone and looking up names as well is a pain, sorry to both of them.) While 80% lineouts is an improvement, it’s not impressive. And their discipline is a major work-on. I don’t think they’ll beat the Brumbies, but second on the ladder seems realistic the way they’re playing now.

        • Perth girl

          Marcel Brache, American international

        • Mica

          Nup – Brache is ordinary and a defensive liability (especially at 13)
          Jooste on the other hand is looking good. Also Prior and Ralston are looking very good. Hope Prior’s injury is nothing serious.

    • Reds Revival

      EP, I don’t think it was so much an improvement in conditioning, as an improvement in combinations. The extra week has given them time to bed down some of those cohesion issues. Sometimes dropped ball etc look like fatigue when they are actually unsettled combinations. That’s my take on it, anyway.

      • Maybe, but last week they looked slow to breakdowns in the second half and their defensive line speed seemed to fall off too. This week they kept it up.

        Maybe the weather affected their morale, and that spilled on into everything else. But with the number of old heads in their side (how old are Lance and Thrush for example?) you would think they’d be able to cope with that, individually and as a team.

        That’s why I thought it was conditioning. Maybe what we saw last week was a lot of S&C work that carried on a bit too long and they hadn’t quite got it out of their system by match day, this week they’d had an extra week of skills and S&C maintenance so they looked that much better.

  • formerflanker

    Really enjoyed the pace, physicality and wide movement of the ball.
    Interesting to theorise what could have been if both missed conversions had been slotted by Lance and the scores tied up at 28-all.
    A different mind set from both teams may have led to different decisions.
    I think those lost 4 points were a disaster for the Force.
    A charge down should just not happen to a goal kicker.
    Especially since there was the lesson from NZ last week.

  • idiot savant

    Now that’s better. A really enjoyable game of rugby to watch. Plenty of physicality, some great attack, some great defence, some strategy. There was also a fair few errors but all in all that was a game worth watching.

    Im impressed with the Force coaching. Home grown too I believe. Sampson might be one to watch for the future. The Force have good discipline and structure and as OConnor pointed out post match are able to vary game plans during a match. I think they got a little bit lucky early on but then you make your own luck. Solid set piece and Thrush leads the forwards well. Hard working back row.

    Reds nearly bungled it. I thought their inability to come away with points after a period of sustained pressure on the Force line mid way through the second half was not a good sign. Thorn’s endless coaching of pick and drive in those situations doesn’t help.

    Lineout was slightly better. ASY brings workrate and grunt in the row. Forwards all good. Oconnor and Stewart good too, provided opportunity to outside men. And McDermott’s pass was noticeably quicker.

    The game of rugby is so much better when there is some space. Why was there more space in this match than previous matches?

    • Hoss

      As per last paragraph Mr Savant I believe the new kicking rules and need to have wingers deep when in D to prevent 50/22’s is opening up the contest
      A fair bit. It’s taken a few weeks for coaches and players better grasp the opportunity I reckon.

      • idiot savant

        Yes the new rules certainly left the Reds short on the outside but what struck me was the extra time OConnor had on the in side. And Stewart probably had more touches in this game than both previous games. The extra space was on the inside allowing the playmakers room to well, make play. Was it that the Force didn’t rush as much or their loose men didnt shoot? Or was it all just my imagination running away with me…

  • dru

    The Force back row and locks deserve mention. More than solid performance and their ruck work was inspiring. Force will do much better than people have been suggesting.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Good morning one and all (and Hoss).
    Well what a difference a week makes. I tuned in, very tentatively, after last weeks dross. This week, a totally different story. Whilst the skills are at the NZ level yet, there certainly is a northward trajectory.
    – The Force do look very competitive, and after there blow the cobwebs out first couple of game I tihnk will be very compeitive. Especially with their re-enforcements.
    – Greg Holmes still looks very handy. Jono Lance, if he keeps playing like that has to be in scope for G&G selection.
    – For the Reds JOC is starting to look very solid. I personally still think he is a 12, but a deep 10 seems to be working.
    – Daungunu is definitely heading for selection. great charge down and wonderful in defence.
    – Reds scrum is rock solid.
    – tongan Thor had a much better game.
    – Exciting to watch the whole match. Even the Referump had a good one.
    Bring it on. I am enjoying this.
    Over to you GAGR’s.

    • UTG

      The skills in that game were most definitely at the NZ level. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the match was the best of both Super AU and Aotearoa thus far.

      I don’t understand why every Australian game people come out and say ‘oh it wasn’t as good as a NZ match.’ Have you watched the Chiefs play? They’re dreadful. The Crusaders vs Chiefs in the rain in Christchurch a few weeks back was every bit as bad as the Rebels vs Reds last week.

      I’d be interested to know exactly what specific facets of that game weren’t up to the standard of NZ teams?

      • McWarren

        Well said UTC

      • Mica

        Watch a replay of the Chiefs v Highlanders – cracking game. Aaron Smith masterful at the end. When he cuts out all the crap and focuses on playing to his potential he’s easily the best scrummy in the game.
        Battle between him and Weber was great!!

        • UTG

          That game hadn’t been played when I posted.

          The Chiefs blowing a 24-0 lead is Australian Super Rugby 2016-2018. If an Australian side squandered that sort of lead against NZ opposition they’d never hear the end of it from commenters here. You’ve only got to look at how the knives came out for the Tahs when they mounted a 32 point turnaround in a few games against the Brumbies.

          Anyway, I will continue to be satisfied with the current standard of rugby being played in Australia and see no need to keep glorifying NZ Rugby in every comment. What do all the Kiwi lovers think of the downfall of Beauden Barrett?

        • Mica

          Just happy to see good rugby mate – The AU games on the weekend were a significant step up from past games so happy with that. Some great play by all teams at various stages.
          I thought Barrett had a reasonably good game against the Blues. It’s also both good and beyond sad that the Kiwis have found someone other than Quade to boo now. Seriously, what a bunch of plonkers. I don’t boo Rob Simmons now that he’s at the Tahs, nor Karmichael Hunt. Actually I think Rob’s been playing some pretty good Rugby recently. Good luck to him. Even as an Aussie, I find it pretty hard to dislike Beauden Barrett; just a talented guy who seems pretty humble. Dane Coles however, he makes it real easy to be disliked.

  • numpty

    Cracking game! loved the use of width and switch from one side of ruck to the other by Lance and the force. Reminded me of a touch player wrapping around the ruck to capitalise on an overlap. Felt like the reds finally executed. Lineout functioned, won the kicking dual, less penalties, less drop ball, got the ball to the wings more. Reds better team for 70 minutes and have now ‘not lost’ 4 on the trot for the first time since 2014 says Clarkey from fox.

    • Reds Revival

      Mentioning Clarkey reminds me to ask if the commentating was any better last night (I watched it in a pub with no sound – generally the best way to watch it).
      I am curious as to whether any of the Fox commentary team got wind of Hugh Cavill’s article and read some of the feedback. If they did, there should have been a noticeable improvement.

      • numpty

        the GAGR boys thought as much on twitter. I thought it was a little better, but with a game so good it wasn’t hard. They still mixed up names and stats at times. Said L. Wright had a steal when it was clearly McReight with headgear front and centre. Also said daugunu had X (can’t remember the numbers) tries while it said he had Y number of tries on the screen at the time.

        • Reds Revival

          Same old, same old – but this time with feeling…

      • mortlucky

        Kafe still not giving me the insights/analysis that I expect from a former top player. Clark is there to describe what I can see. I want to know what I don’t see. Horan sees a lot (often before it happens) and I feel informed by him. Marshall and Stransky also.

      • McWarren

        I don’t think he mentioned anyone’s age except for O’Connors age on debut. Me thinks he reads this site.

      • Red Block

        I thought it was noticeable the amount of added stats that Greg Clarke dropped in. And in the Tahs game Kearns was much more balanced but within the first two minutes of starting, Gregan called him John Ramm (that Spanish guy) not James Ramm.

  • Reds Revival

    I agree that was a much better contest. The Force impressed me with their physicality and effectiveness at the breakdown. The Reds backrow are one of the better in the comp for turnovers, and they had very little success against the Force piggies.
    It was good to see the new look back line. I preferred CFS on the wing and Jock Campbell at fullback. With Daugunu on the other wing (how good is his defence this year? That used to be his biggest weakness, but now he brings it every game), the really have a balanced threat of speed, evasiveness, and power.
    Lineout accuracy was also much better this week, with ASY added as a second mobile lock. The team is certainly heading in the right direction. I don’t think they are at Brumbies standard yet, but it will be an entertaining battle towards the end of the season!

  • mortlucky

    Qld vs Qld Barbarians? How was WA rugby represented in the Force team (even the Force’s site could tell me)?

    • Wonky Donkey

      Because they want to play for us and our money.

    • Perth girl

      Longbottom,Ferris, Lacey, Godwin, Callen and Jooste in the game day squad. Also Grant, Harris, Koteka, Luke, Makara, O’Sullivan, Pugh and Sheminant in the wider Force Squad. Plus of course we have a few in other SR teams such as Tizzano, Hardwick etc. Not to mention the fact that the Force has given an opportunity to many players over the years that would never have got that. Some of them have taken that opportunity and run with it, Hodgson, Cam Shepherd, Richard Brown just a few who have made it to the Wallabies. Love my team!

      • JJ

        Dont forget all those WA bred players in the Rebels side

        • Perth girl

          Yes Hardwick is one but as I mentioned in my previous post it is also all the players unwanted by their home State who have been given a chance by the Force and done well

      • Mica

        Good on you Perth Girl. I agree WA is producing some good players and this makes Aus Rugby better as a whole. I think Mortlucky is just trying the old wind up……… :)

  • laurence king

    Just watched the game this afternoon good game, some excellent handling skills, Tupou teriffic. Force are no easybeats that’s for sure. Lifted the spirits.

  • Who?

    Daugunu got an early mark on his charge down… Left before Lance started moving to the ball. Marginal, but still. Big play in the game.

    Great game awareness from JOC to take the droppie at the end. Haven’t seen that sort of game management at 10 for the Reds for a while…

Queensland Reds

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

More in Queensland Reds