Reds wobble to 5-point victory over luckless Lions - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Reds wobble to 5-point victory over luckless Lions

Reds wobble to 5-point victory over luckless Lions

The Lions came into this match with one win from six matches, having lost four-from-five by less than seven points. The Reds were sitting atop the Australian conference with four wins, but still looking for the attacking form they showed last year. After the game nothing much has changed: the Lions are still picking up losing bonus points, and the Reds are winning without appearing to be in form.

The afternoon match started with promise as both sides looked to play attacking rugby. The Lions employed the old head and accurate boot of Andre Pretorius to keep the Reds pinned in their own half and constantly under fire from the high ball. This tactic, along with the unfortunate but justified sinbinning of James Slipper and the totally unjustified sinbinning of James Horwill, kept the Reds in check for the entire first half.

The Reds for their part continued with the hybrid field position/running rugby game they seem to be trying to develop. One minute they will be sedately playing field position, and then some kind of cosmic switch closes and the team goes into hyperdrive, attacking any way they know how and a few they don’t.

The early plays from both teams were fast and full of ball movement. Quade Cooper missed an early shot at goal and Andre Pretorius missed his attempt after the James Slipper sinbinning. Here’s how that happened: the Lions are running back Cooper’s 22 drop-out. Hooker Bandise Maku hits the ball up on the blind side of the ruck. He skips past Digby Ioane and runs into Slipper’s shoulder mid-hop. He has his body weight forward and his feet are a few inches off the ground. Slipper’s hip-level tackle is now a leg-level tackle and only one thing can happen: Maku’s legs are lifted, he lands on his shoulder and Slipper lands in the bin.

While the Reds were down to 14 the Lions scored eight points through an offside penalty and a good try to Killian. Unfortunately for the Reds, referee Vinnie Munro missed a glaring offside from Deon van Rensburg as he chased a Pretorius bomb in the lead-up to the try.

A few minutes after Slipper’s return, Munro pulled play up at a ruck and called Reds captain James Horwill out. The conversations went something like this.

Horwill: “I didn’t hit the ball, I grabbed  his arm”

Munro: “No, you hit the ball. You’re out of the game because you’re in the tackle, you’re off your feet. That’s a cynical foul. They had the ball. You’re gone for 10.”

Horwill: “Really?”

Horwill had reason to be incredulous and did well to keep his comments to this. Leroy Houston and Adam Wallace-Harrison had tackled JC Janse van Rensburg and Horwill was the third man in, trying to counter-ruck over the ball. Lions halfback Jano Vermaak picked up the ball; Horwill leant through and knocked his arm, causing him to drop it. Horwill was never part of the tackle and lost his footing only after the contact with Vermaak. This was hardly worth a penalty, let alone a yellow card. In the outcome, Pretorius slotted the penalty to make the score 11–0.

Luke Rocket Morahan! Not the same really. Jet shoes?

The Reds hit back quickly. After some good lead-up work from his forwards Genia took a couple of steps to hold the loose forwards. Cooper ran to the line, held up two players of his own and put Luke Morahan through a lovely hole off his outside shoulder. Morahan used his speed to make the 20-metre run to the line. Harris took over the kicking duties and slotted the extras; 11–7 to the Lions.

The teams then exchanged penalty goals for “not releasing” offences. Harris kicked the Reds’ as Horwill jogged back on, making it 10–3 to the Reds while the skipper was off. Pretorius’s shot made it 14–10 to the Lions overall at oranges.

Digby Not Happy Jan

One minute into the second half Digby Ioane dropped a midfield kick, setting up Jaco Taute for a easy try. Pretorius missed the conversion; Lions 19–10.

Unfortunately for the Lions, Ioane, who had been having a reasonable game, took this personally — and spent the rest of the match making up for his mistake by being everywhere!

This seemed to be the catalyst for the Reds to get their house in order. From the next kick-off James Horwill took the ball at full flight and roared into the Lions’ 22 before Saia Faingaa was run into touch. It was a beautiful bit of play from the big forward and should be on his highlight reel for a long time to come. The Lions won the lineout and hoofed it downfield, but then allowed the Reds run it all the way back and Coooper scored under the posts. The kick was good; 19-17 to the Lions.

The second half never reached the heights of the first. Fatigue was evident into both teams’ games. Genia and Cooper asserted more influence as space appeared in front of them; Pretorius took the boot option too often. The Lions conceded two penalties within Harris’s kicking distance, and before long the Reds were up 23–19.

The Reds’ final try was built up over many phases. Digby Ioane took the final pass two metres out and there was no stopping him from there. Harris’s conversion made it 30–19. But the visitors seemed know they did not have the energy to chase the bonus goat, and it was their turn to concede kickable penalties as they tried to shut down the match: one to Pretorius and one to Rory Kockott. Final Score: 30–25 to the Reds.

Wallaby watch: Cooper, Genia and Ioane were standouts for the Reds. Horwill, Holmes, Wallace-Harrison and Anthony Faingaa deserve mentions. Mike Harris had a good day with the boot but looked a bit lost at fullback, especially under the high ball.

Vinnie Munro watch: 2/10

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Bob

    Generous giving Vinny 2/10.

    He was Lions best on ground.

    • rolandw

      The first time I watch a reds game, I’m more one eyed then Marto so I decided to watch the replay in a more balanced view.

      There were numerous rubish calls by Vinny Munroe that were not mentioned here. It was obvious from the outset he was wearing his Lions pyjamas underneath. Rugby is a game of interpretation about timing and leniance. As long as a ref is consistant thats all I ask. He was playing two sets of rules for both teams.

      How long you can hold onto the ball when tackled was 5 seconds for the lions and half a second for the reds. Lions chasers were offside on about 5 kicks and none were pulled up.

      Maybe Vinny is worried the reds will occury a finals berth leaving his beloved Blues out of the top 6. He is worse than Kaplan.

      • Old Weary

        Agree there was some definite consistency issues esp how the breakdown was ruled (ie tackler not releasing vs holding on to the ball)

        that being said I thought Slipper was lucky not to see red – I assume he has been cited?

  • bones

    Vinnie just doesnt like Australia. He calls it the “West Island”.

  • Jimbo81

    Thought the ref was very harsh against the Reds in the first half – was good to see the Reds fight back in the 2nd. 80% of the ball played in the Lions half and 40% in their own 22. That was brilliant – felt like the lions were being crushed. Ionie and Cooper – so good! Think Robinson is epic and is everywhere.

  • rolandw

    Does anyone know who is on the judicial board deciding Slipper’s fete. I hope it’s not a bunch of Stormers fans posing as judges, although in my years I have come to discover if your a south african, you deeply support all south african teams above any other.

    Maybe thats why they all wear springbok jerseys to all the games (pet hate of mine). They all support 5 teams.

    Such a different mindset to Oz and NZ. If i ever supported the Tah’s in any game, my family and friends would dis own me.

  • Pitas

    How can you question Horwills Sinbinning ? He was laying down and behind the scrumhalve(totally offside) and then made a grab. Preventing and interfering with play which could, if there were no interference, led to eventually a try.
    If this type of play are allowed of course there will be many penalties and less tries.
    A Win at all cost Attitude.

    • He was standing and part of the Ruck. The ball was clear of the ruck in the Halfbacks hands

  • Reds Fan 2011

    I don’t disagree with Horwill’s sinbinning. It was sinical, he did hit the ball (I watched it about 5 times because I was filthy) but mostly it showed a lack of belief that our defence could hold up. Hopefully that’s a starting point of flicking him as a captain. However Munro was appalling and really SANZAR should review the refs every game. The Lions we able to lie all over the ball and on numerous occassions dived over our side to seal off the ball & then we get penalised! He was pathetic. Definately Harris is no fullback and its about time that Chambers comes back into 13 and Digby moves out to the wing and Morahan to Fullback. I don’t think I saw Diggers pass to his wingers once, great player yes but one serious hog. The Stormers didn’t look that impressive on the weekend but Qld will still need to bring their A+ game to topple them this weekend.

    • Brax

      You want Jimmy “flicked” as captain….. and you call yourself a Reds fan….. Reds fans get behind their captain & team no matter what… hang your head in shame!

  • Hawko

    Vinnie Munro missed a lot and did not referee well. But…. this is the first match I’ve seen him ref poorly, he is usually quite good, way better than Bryce, Pollock and some of the other Kiwis. And I did like that he had no reservation in going to his pocket – some refs seem to go on the field with their pockets sewn up. Peyper took too many repeated infringements to find his and made the match poorer by doing so.

    So I would encourage you to give him another go. Everyone has a bad match occasionally and the Reds were not blameless with their discipline. Just a few more penalties for offside play by the Lions and you would have been far happier.

  • Muffy

    I don’t know what his name is but the Loosehead for the lions never made any effort to roll away even once. I was getting spitting mad!

    Also you are allowed (in my understanding) to place the ball. You watch the Force-Rebs game and then the Reds game, the time allowed is completely different…consistency is all we ask..

    I think there is an argument for and against with Horwills’ binning, was he part of the ruck if so, keep you hands to yourself…but I thought that the half back had his hands on the ball, it had cleared the ruck, Jim was on his feet and it was a effort to scoop the ball back to QLD side, I thought fair play.

    I will have to have another look at that tonight.

    Reds do need to work on the longer place though to negate the openside having a chop at the pill.

  • conor

    How about ‘Lightning’ Luke Morahan… or Luke “motor’ Norahan.


  • Garry

    Was the Ioane experiment at OC a success?

    • It didn’t go wrong. But he still looks like a winger out of position.

    • Alan

      fuck no i thought he killed it. Was strong all game – especially the 2nd half. He was a constant threat to the Lions and it was so dam good seeing someone in the middle of the park running straight

      • Muffy

        If he could get an offload into his game, hes a a walkup start for Wally 13

        • murph

          That’s the trick. I reckon he carries the ball just that tiny bit too far into contact, often failing to go to ground when the ball can be 100% secured, and he tends not to pass to his wings even when they are in the clear.

        • Robson

          …….”he tends not to pass to his wings” That’s because he’s absolutely a winger and absolutely not a centre.

  • Richo

    I love that when Tahs fans whine about the ref it’s sour grapes, but when Reds fans do the same it’s impartial and judicious knowledge of the game…


  • Doug

    Richo- the difference is that Reds fans don’t boo our own team. Tahs fand spend their time blaming their team, Reds fans never blame the team we blame the ref!

  • Gordo

    Yep Queensland boys. Reckon yer gonna need to unleash all the mongrel you have in Cape Town this weekend. Me and my own will be behind you 100 percent. Hope Diggers can attract all the defensive attention and offload to our wingers for several tries. WE ARE RED !!!!!!!

  • Cape Town – Reds prop James Slipper was on Monday cleared on a charge of dangerous play after appearing before a SANZAR Judicial hearing at Newlands in Cape Town.

    Slipper had been cited for an alleged breach of Foul Play Law 10.4 (j) that relates to lifting an opponent off the ground and dropping or driving him into the ground whilst his feet are still in the air.

    The incident occurred in the sixth minute of the match between the Lions and the Reds in Johannesburg.

    The Judicial Officer, Advocate Rob Stelzner carefully considered the video evidence, the referee’s report, the citing commissioner’s report, Slipper’s testimony and submissions by his legal representative, Stefan Weyers.

    He then concluded that he was not satisfied on the balance of probability that Slipper’s action was in breach of Law 10.4 (j).

    The case was accordingly dismissed.

    • Funk

      I’ve just heard that Kaplan is going to be the ref for the reds stormers, can anyone confirm this? Going to be a very tough day for the reds if this is right…….would be better to get Vinny again!

      • rolandw

        Oh no. If thats the case were fucked. He’s a stormers lover and a reds hater. He’s just back from his 3 week suspension for his shit reffing not involving a south african team (Ireland vs Wales). We are fucked now.

        This clown is the worst ref in history. They need to try and get someone else reappointed

        • cantab

          err….kaplan. If that clown has the whistle the Stomers could rest there starting 15 and field there under 12’s team and still come up trumps. His only equal is tarpa henning.

  • Pingback: Reds wobble to 5 point victory over luckless Lions | The Land Of "The Unit"()

  • Gordo

    Kaplan? Tough bit of luck. Very interested to see how the Reds perform when most rugby pundits think they are David going into the Lions den. Perhaps their right? I think if they stick to McKenzie’s attacking plan and show some tough Queensland grit then perhaps the whole S15 will be mouths agape. Also, is Chambers going to return to the side this match? The Reds need him now to make his stand and show Australian rugby he’s worth his contract. Now is their time to hit full stride..or they will remain the ‘second’ team in Oz to the Tah’s.

  • jacinta ioane

    Its funny how ppl talk about diggers being a hog, but when he is on the wing no one passes him the ball… thats why most of the time hes all over the field looking for the ball..

Queensland Reds

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

More in Queensland Reds