Match Review Of the Reds V. Blues game
Northern Provincial Rugby

Review: 50 Caps And a Try to Ioane In Reds’ Defeat Of The Blues

Review: 50 Caps And a Try to Ioane In Reds’ Defeat Of The Blues

Digby Ioane took just 60 seconds to celebrate his 50th game with a try in the Reds’ defeat of the Blues in Auckland tonight. Ioane was heavily marked by the Blues centre pairing of Nonu and Ranger. And surely he’ll feel Nonu’s tackles tomorrow. The big Blues enforcer didn’t miss. But the Reds were all business from the moment they regained their kick off till the 80th minute when they turned over a Blues ball to end the game. There were more than a few occasions where this fan’s heart was in his mouth. This wasn’t the 2011 Reds but there were glimpses of them. The Blues were once again all over the place and coach Pat Lam will be wondering where to go from here.

As mentioned, Ioane scored in the first minute after the Reds had regained the kick-off and Lucas cross-kicked for Rob Simmons on the left wing where he had stayed after the split kick off. The big lock bought the ball back and up, falling inches short of the line. Ioane picked up the ball from the ruck and crashed his way over the line. Harris missed the conversion but the Reds led 5-0.

Luke Morahan’s try was a simple catch and pass with the big fullback’s size and pace and the threat of Davies shadowing him on the outside giving him a red carpet ride to the line. This try was more a product of poor defence than great attack but the Reds did put themselves in a position to score. Harris kick the conversion to move the Reds out to 12-0.

The Blues managed to get some time in possession and with some field position found themselves with a lineout deep inside the Reds’ 22. They pulled the ball in and rumbled the maul towards the Reds’ line. In the disarray of the maul Luke Braid manage to sneak over for the Blues’ only try. Anscombe missed the kick but the Blues were back in the match at 12-5.

The Blues’ game was slowly coming together and the rest of the half was pretty even with the only scores from penalty kicks for the Blues in the 32 minute and the Reds in the 36 minute. The half time score was 15-8.

Just after half time the Reds were hard on attack when Genia spotted Shipperly unmarked on his wing. He cut out three players to put the winger in space only metres out from the line. Shipperly managed to get the ball down on the line despite the attention of the Blues’ defence. Harris again missed the kick but the Reds had moved out to a 20-8 lead with 35 minutes to play.

Anthony Faingaa’s introduction in the 52nd minute immediately changed the Reds defence from good to very good. In his first tackle he brought Ma’a Nonu to ground, swivelled back to his feet and set about disrupting the Blues’ ball. The next time the Blues saw the ball, their backs had a 5 to 3 overlap. But Faingaa pulled Harris and Shipperly up out of the line quickly and killed the play before Nonu could get the ball away.

The Blues scored a ruck penalty in the 53rd minute but despite threatening the line and dominating territory in the last quarter of the game didn’t manage to score again. The Reds managed to win their own penalty in the 75th minute, pulling the difference out far enough to ensure there would be no bonus point for the Blues.

In a sure sign that their confidence is not quite there Shipperly opted to punt the ball out rather than downfield for a chance at a bonus point try. Surely last years Reds would have taken the punt?

For the Reds there was a welcome return to form from Rob Simmons, Will Genia and Ben Daley. With a mark improvement in team’s hunger for the ball and an end to pushed passes and poor ball retention. For the Blues there is very little to take out of this game.

The Damage!

The Reds have injury clouds over James Slipper and Beau Robinson. No details yet but we welcome details in the replies section. No backs were inured in this game! How long has it been since we could say that?

The Blues appear to be unscathed.

The Moment?

It’s a big call but I’m giving Digby Ioane’s try the moment in this game. 60 seconds in the man playing his 50th match scores a try. The Reds’ hearts soared and they never looked back. Not even Ma’a Nonu’s massive defensive effort could put a dent in the Reds optimism after that.

The Man!

Ma’a Nonu was good in a beaten team. James Horwill lead form the front. Will Genia was nearly his old self. Digby Ioane ran Hard. Anthony ‘The Starch’ Faingaa did what he does.

But the man was Liam Gill! He was everywhere. A pest over the ball, trucking it up, cutting players down, playing link man. He did it all. A very good openside game for a very young player. It really looks like Australia will have three great opensides competing for a Wallaby spot in the very near future. Surely not a bad thing?

The Talking Point

I’ve thought about the game and can’t think of one moment I can describe as a talking point. I do however keep coming back to one thing. And That’s the Blues! What happened to them this season? I look at this team on paper and then look at their 1-8 win/loss record and wonder what went wrong. I would love to read your opinions on the Blues’ 2012 season in the comments below.

The Haiku

An Electrician

From Mount Isa writes Haikus

I don’t think so mate.

My Conclusion

The Reds looked better, but can you really judge their performance against a team so obviously out of sorts? The Crusaders and the Chiefs in the next couple of weeks will definitely test the Reds more than tonight. It will be interesting to see if the Reds can continue to improve against stiffer opposition.

Last — get out and watch some local rugby this weekend! They need and deserve your support. Have a good one.







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  • Patrick

    I love Digby going over in his first minutes back!

    As for the Blues, I have no idea what happened to them. The implosion is mindboggling.

    • Mindboggling indeed. ThAt’s 2 of us with no idea!

  • D.

    On the money! Well said.

  • Pedro

    Nice write up. The reds forwards (somehow) out classed the blues big men while their backs seemed lacking any game plan.

    It’s good for the reds to get the win, but you have to wonder if they were flattered by a poorly executing opposition. Great to get through a match largely injury free with some stability in the back line.

    • Our scrum still went backwards! Imagine if Mealamu and Woodcock had played.

  • Linc

    Thanks for the wrap up. I didn’t see the game but it sounds like the Reds may have learnt a lesson from the Stomers loss. Tell me was Genia’s kicking game better?

    • Yes his kicking was better but still not great.

  • Skopje Brumbies’ fan

    the Reds wanted to win. they were in the blues’ faces in defence, keen to exploit attacking opportunities. well done reds

  • johnny-boy

    Good write up Sully. As someone mentioned it’s hard to look good against a struggling team. I too was a bit nervous as the Blues have serious strike power and talent but are just up against a major mental block. They’ll give some top team or two a fright sometime this year when they click. The Reds are getting nearer to regaining form but just need to keep working really hard and a surprising opportunity might just come along. Especially after the tests. Why on earth was Nonu pulled when he was playing so great ? Injury or coaching stupidity or bloody mindedness. Boy I’d be brassed off if I was him and not injured.

    • I wrote in the Shoutbox during the game that my heart was in my mouth a couple of times in the second half John. There were a few scarey moments

  • Duckbill

    Good effort by the Reds. Some great intensity their and that was refreshing for sure.

    Maybe I just don’t get it, but why the hell did Joubert call them back for a penalty in their favour when they had just crossed the line for a bonus point try?

    He should be shot….

    • Duckbill

      I meant “some great intensity there”…

    • Robson

      They did show some great intensity and you’re right Joubert’s decision at that moment was baffling.

      I said on the preview page that to win the match the Reds only had to (a) pass / catch with accuracy, (b) cease kicking the ball at dumb times into dumb spaces and (c) attack the breakdown in a frenzy. They did all three and showed enormous courage and fortitude on defence too. They thoroughly deserved their win.

      The Blues don’t have a baseline strategy in their attack game so several individuals are possessed with the belief that they have to win the game all on their own. Several times they struck deep into Reds territory (often, frustratingly, resulting from a botched Reds opportunity) only for one player to go too far with it and get cut down by some magnificent Reds scrambling defence. If they had let the ball go (no doubt as the Crusaders and Chiefs would have done), a certain try was on.

      The Blues lineout was also a shambles and the Red’s caught their disease a few times halfway through the second half; which was strangely uncharacteristic of their early performance. I don’t know whether it was Hansen’s throwing or the calls were getting confused. The Red’s scrum, however, started to look decidely wobbly as the match wore on.

      But it was at the breakdown that the Reds really earned their keep. Yes there were some turnovers, but overall they certainly had the heat on the Blues especially early in the match which would have cast big shadowy doubts in the minds of the Blues forwards.

      I suppose the real difference between the two teams is that the Reds believed they could win, the Blues just hoped they could.

    • Duckbill
      I’m assuming Joubert found an error in the Reds play before the try and went back to the penalty.

      • johnny-boy

        The commentators talked about a truck and trailer going to the line

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  • tombo

    Sully – yes I managed to watch the mighty Easts Tigers up against the Rock Chippers on Sat arvo in atrocious conditions – turned out to be a very good game despite the weather and the “new” field at Bottomley obviously helped. Standard was high – was a better game to watch than Reds v Brumbies on Good Friday

    • You did better than me! I looked outside at 3PM on Saturday and decided the weather was for ducks and had a little nap on the lounge. Soft I know.

Northern Provincial Rugby

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

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