REVIEW: Reds Plus Blues Equals Purple - Green and Gold Rugby
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REVIEW: Reds Plus Blues Equals Purple

REVIEW: Reds Plus Blues Equals Purple

The Reds took this opportunity to sweep away the Blues from last week’s draw, and in the process made a clean sweep of the New Zealand teams for the year, a first for Australian Super Rugby.

The Match

The first ten minutes saw the Blues with a mountain of possession but the were unable to do much with it as first points were scored by the Reds, with James Horwill proving he can go the sticks (after last weeks criticism) and Quade Cooper slotting it. the blues quickly earned a penalty from the kick off and scores were leveled.

The teams continued to trade penalties, the best of those being Albert Nikoro, making his starting debut, kicking an absolute monster from wide out on the halfway line.

The Blues broke the trend though when they had camped on the Reds try line. The Reds defense held them out until Jono Lance was caught out of position by Jackson Willison who got the ball down for the first 5 pointer of the match. Chris Noakes was unable to convert the try.

The Blues did plenty of running, here's a photo of some.

The Blues did plenty of running, here’s a photo of some.

Things began loosening up in the game as the half time hooter drew near, though despite the frenetic pace, neither team could cross the line and the teams went to the sheds with the Blues leading 11 points to 9.

The Second half started off the same as the first, with the Blues commanding a mountain of possession. The similarities continued until the first points were missed by the Reds, Quade missing a relatively easy goal.

the next twenty minutes went in a blur, such was the pace of this game. With no points yet scored in this half, it was becoming a question of who would break through and make this game their own. It fell to another Quade Cooper kick and this time he did it. With 5 minutes to go the Reds led by 1, 12-11.

The Blues spent the last 5 minutes working hard on the line, but they kept giving away penalties and let the Reds do enough to take the game. The fact they did was quite remarkable, if for no other reason than they only had roughly 40% possession and managed to miss 27 tackles. This will be a good one for them to draw on should they make the finals.

The Game Changer

In the sixty fourth minute Will Genia diffused a kick through (it was offside anyway) and Quade kicked long when they were expecting a run, they returned the kick but it was a Reds line-out instead, with plenty of territory gained as well.


quade cooper profileQuade Cooper was on fire tonight, everything he did was assured and considered. Though the Reds were tryless he certainly put on a display to make the Wallaby selectors take notice.

Wallaby watch

Quade Cooper responded beautifully to Robbie Deans’ “account-abilities” barb on rugby HQ during the week, getting through a mountain of work, including a huge hit on Rene Ranger amongst his many defensive involvements.

The Details

Crowd: 31 050

Score & Scorers

Home Team: Reds
Penalties: Cooper 4/5

Away Team: Blues
Tries: Willison
Conversions: Noakes 0/1
Penalties: Noakes 1/1, Nikoro 1/2
  • skip

    So that’s the red’s slam and the Oz/Kiwi win loss ratio is skewed massively. I tell you, this conference system, it means the weaker conference gets a play off spot anyway.

    Deep breaths people….it’s just joke.

    • M

      I’m beginning to wonder if a NZ team will ever win at Suncorp. Three years of expectantly turning up and lots of disappointment!

      Seriously, it was a good match. Cooper and Genia threatened throughout

      • Agreed, i am very impressed with how Cooper has turned his form and most of all his ATTITUDE around. He looks a completely different player, alot more composed and mature compared to past seasons. Most impressively he has started tackling and produced some big, important hits tonight. A visible sign of his change in attitude?

        He has always had that attacking magic but seemed to lack the real classy, consistent decision making the likes of Carter and Larkham had, until now..

        Much to do still but jesus he must be playing his way to inclusion in a ”logistics team!” :P

        Amazing result by the Reds, Blues will be wondering how they didnt win it. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing alot of kiwi’s will be getting more and more worried over our S15 dominance

        • Patronizing? I did not see any change in attitude, I just saw Quade paying rugby. If you subscribe to the Robbie Deans “Attitude problem”, then you might be missing the big picture. Quade’s toxic comments were a challenge a coach who is all about blaming the players for Robbie Deans’ mistakes. I applaud Quade for standing up and saying something. No coach will ever have a team succeed (at any level) to its potential if he does not support his players.

        • When i mention attitude i primarily associate it with his defence or lack of it up until recently. It was an aspect of his game where he looked disinterested. He’s proved that he can tackle, its great and about time that he started doing it!

          The whole ”toxic affair” was dumb. He may have talked some sense but was a dickhead in going about it

  • bill

    Canno, with the ball being kept in hand from the opening whistle, “…this game’s going to open up soon…”.

    Tough game. Rene Ranger thought bubble when getting popped by Cooper?

    I thought Davies had been hooked at half time for not passing to Digby until I saw the gladwrap, which would’ve been fair enough, not much point making an electric break if you hog the ball. Davies, if you find yourself running sideways the %’s are with your support and the opposition cover. At least look so you can make a decision.

    The blues should look at how well John Smit did at prop.

    Finally, quiet from Gill tonight, I doubt G Smith will be as quiet backing up, advantage George come Lions selection.

    • Hard to say before the Brumbies even take the field.

    • Footy44

      Agree re Gill. Maybe give beau a start to give him a week to freshen up before the trip to SA. In fact the whole back row could use one.
      Samo, Robinson, Butler doesn’t sound like a bad fill in.

      • John Eales

        We must have been watching different games? Gilly seemed to be in everything last night, Grandstand commentators even commended him as being the best ball-runner on the night.

      • bill

        Yep. Or C Browning as well. Schatz and Quirk and the rest of em get overlooked for how much they contribute to the breakdown. Both Schatz and Quirk ought to be getting talked about for the wallabies.

  • the other dave

    Ironic that a coach with Deans’ s results should be talking about accountability.

    I think the Blues can be aggrieved in the same way we (Reds) were last week, we got the rub of the green tonight from the old Acme Thunderer.

    • I would like to see heavier penalties for those who repeatedly kill the ruck illegally. the Reds chose to kick for 3 last night, but watch the replay and count how many time Ali Williams won the ball off his feet.

  • Rex Munday

    Tough game. Blues played well. They’ll be dirty with not getting the win. Reds looked like they did against the Force. Poor. Jono Lance’s missed tackle for the Blues’s try was just dreadful.

    • Ooaahh

      The rest of his defence was topShelf

      • Rex Munday


    • bill

      It was an over-read, got propped by the decoy. It happens.

  • Blues played damn well, but the Reds won the battle of patience. Tired as they were, and it was obvious from the 30 minute mark, the Reds toiled hard for this win but didn’t panic at any stage. Quade… and I might be a bit biased at times… but man was he the difference. What a difference a cool headed flyhalf can make to a team.

    He certainly channeled Wilko tonight for a stellar performance.

    • Luke_Baird

      Ian Daley a bit biased? Never! In all seriousness though I agree with your summation of the match. I will say however that the Reds are looking the real deal this year; the Blues had obviously done their homework on them during the bye and nullified the Reds’ strength by retaining the ball, and the dominance showed.

      That the Reds could still scrap ahead at full time has all the makings of a valid contender for the trophy.

  • USARugger

    What are we going to do about this weak Aussie conference?

    • sunny coast red

      MMMM trust you are just stirring the pot given the Australian dominance over the Kiwi teams this season, or are inferring the Kiwi conference is the weakest?

  • If the Blues played a little smarter and for field position they would have won.
    No kicks until the reserve 10 came on. Great to watch but a loser of a play.
    Note, Cooper on song is the best no.10 in the world.
    Cooper 10% off his game is a nightmare.

    I prefer Toomua (brumbies) as starting 10.
    Cooper for emergencies

    • the other dave

      I disagree, they starved the Reds of ball, and save for some handling errors and desperate defence at vital moments, they nearly pulled it off. Besides, kicking possession away is SO Berrick Barnes.

      • You are correct (especial on Barnes) except because the Blue’s didn’t vary their play at all (ie, no kicks), the Red’s defensive line only had to worry about the ball in front of them, with no fear of being turned around. A kick now and again may have seen them come up with more points as the Reds defensive line wouldn’t have always been pushing the boundaries of being offside.

  • redbull

    Game of the season so far. Absolutely riveting. These two teams should be in the finals. Full contact chess….what rugby is meant to be.

    A swipe now to Ali Wiliams on the post-match interview where he complained about possible infringements and refereeing. When a player is in front of the ball they are offside and need to make every effort to get back onside. The Blues were doing a very good impression of a League side with decoy runners making a nuisance in the defensive line. This is creeping in everywhere in Union and should be stamped out immediately. It ruins the one-on-one that rugby still retains. If you want League or NFL then go watch that.

    • Agree – Ali Williams played brilliantly last night, although most of it was off his feet.

  • Packy

    Link, please tell Quade … when there is two minutes to go, and you’re leading but the Blues are looking for possession, and the ball bounces to you five metres off your own try line, you do not kick it out. No. You sprint to James Horwill and collapse beside him. He will know what to do.

    The Blues are a great team – the amount of turnover they got from us was unbelievable, Wallabies should study that because it is exactly what the All Blacks will do to us

    • Dougs

      I disagree. If the other team needs a try, hold on to it wherever you are… can’t score without the ball etc. But, if the other team needs a penalty, get as far away from your own sticks as possible, even if it means giving away possession.

  • Old_laurentian

    Another brilliant and absorbing game of Rugby, half time and full time seemed to come in a flash. Some thoughts without having the benefit of watching the replay:
    First, hats off to the Blues for a master class in ball retention, that first eight minutes or so had the crowd strangely quiet and nervous! Cooper MOM – always dangerous in attack and his defensive efforts had improved last week and were much more obvious this week. Genia would be close for my MOM. His acceleration from a standing start is quite astonishing, but that also makes it difficult to back him up. He harassed the opposing number 9’s mercilessly around the scrum also. The dangerous Reds attacks came from the halves and the wingers – the centres lack the same attacking strengths? While I don’t expect wingers to be masters of the art of finding support and passing to them, Davis made a great break mid-field at one stage, but finally ran away from his support. The Reds again looked dangerous ball in hand, but as last week didn’t quite have have the finishing. One day it will come together and let’s hope that’s in the finals. Finally, this last two weeks at Suncorp was Rugby at its best.

  • Klaus

    The Blues played sensationally well and I understand why Kiwis think they should have won. However for them to start ranting on about the Reffing is a joke. They were continually offside all game their first man was onside but their number 2 man in pillar position would be another half metre in front. The worse for me was the second last play of the match when Quade kicked it to touch for the last lineout. Ali Williams and 2 others were about 2 metres offside trying for a charge down Joubert saw it and chose not do anything like similar aspects to both teams tonight the game would have been over then. In all Joubert is a weak referee in my mind and lost me in that World Cup Final where he gifted Bill to the All Blacks after being too weak to award penalties.

    • Jimmy

      Joubert doesn’t penalise kiwis – look at the ’11 WC Final.

      • Joking

        Give the guy a break, he was thinking how he was going to get out of the country if he blew a penalty.

  • AJ

    Blah blah… only one team was playing to win… Blues robbed… scoring tries… etc etc. See how ridiculous it sounds, Reds fans?

    On a serious note, cracking game of rugby.

    • Klaus

      Please see Gus’ response to Pedro. There was a huge difference in this game. The Reds didn’t give away 20 penalties for the same offence last weeks different story. They relied on their patterns and defence alone to win the game. Same couldn’t be said about the Brumbies last week.

      • AJ

        Tell that to the Blues fans throwing things at their TVs. The point is, defending teams are scrutinized more closely than attacking teams, and hence the team with less possession is deemed to infringe more.

        I lost count the number of times Simmons was in from the side, and don’t get me started on Quirk going off his feet!

  • Pedro

    The ref seemed to let a lot go this match. Like when Quade got tackled, stood back up while being held and passed it. Both teams defensively weren’t penalised when off side players loitered, while offensively guys entered the ruck from the side all night.

    Good game, but interesting to see no reds complaining about players not getting sent off this week.

    • Gus

      There were also no Blues complaining about players not getting sent off because the Reds weren’t getting penalized for consistently infringing on their goal line. As demonstrated when they defended the last 5 minutes in their 22 without giving away a penalty…

      The complaints about players not being sent off weren’t about referee interpretation of laws but referee error. The referee did not know the rules well enough to know that given the penalties and warnings that he issued, the law requires him to red card a player. Scott wrote a pretty comprehensive article on it if you missed it earlier this week.

      • Pedro

        Just becuse you’re not getting pinged, doesn’t mean you aren’t offending. No disrespect to the reds or blues, they both did what they could get away with.

        I’m sure Scott could do an analysis of referee errors in this game and also come up with obvious errors. Not trying to imply there was anything unfair about the referee’s effort, merely that there were plenty of “no calls” compared to last week. 5-9 penalties is quite low I would imagine.

        • Gus

          Just because one team is defending for a long time in a low scoring match does not mean they are infringing either. You were trying to make a false equivalence between this game and the Brumbies game with your first comment. You are right in saying teams do what they can get away with. It is an essential part of rugby.

          The difference was is that the brumbies literally weren’t getting away with it. They were getting overwhelmingly penalized by the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown and he did not know how to correctly sanction their play because he was inexperienced. His interpretation was fine, the complaints weren’t that the Brumbies weren’t getting penalized enough but how the referee dealt with the penalties.

          This week the referee allowed both teams quite a lot of leeway at the breakdown this week and was fair in his interpretation for both teams.This leeway allowed the blues pack to get on top at the breakdown and cause plenty of turnovers as the reds were tired, especially the backrow who must desperately need some rest after a long season already. It also allowed both teams more leeway defensively but didn’t stop either from receiving quick ball, even close to the line. Both teams did what they could get away with and neither should feel aggrieved at the refereeing.

    • I agree Pedro, I was disappointed to see for a second week in a row, the spectacle of rugby diminished by the referee failing to control infringements that locked the play down. I agree that Quade should have been penalized when he got back to his feet. Both teams were criticized for unimaginative back line attack, but perhaps it has more to do with the other team being offisde. As a Reds supporter, I only noticed the Blues offside. :) I noticed Ali Williams repeatedly offend and to a lesser extent, repeatedly penalized. Again I would have been happy to see stiffer penalties for repeated offenses.

      • Pedro

        Yeah Ali Williams was a menace, not at all trying to imply the reds were dirty the blues were as bad if not worse. The ref just seemed worrying about slowing the game down this week.

  • Footy44

    Did anyone read Mark Ella’s article in the Australian? He certainly has an agenda against the Reds and Mackenzie!! The Australian has been printing this rubbish ever since QRU forced the ARU into offering Cooper a respectable contract. This kind of agenda pushing is why I go to GAGR to get some decent news and analysis.

    • Donk

      i’d take every thing mark ella says with a grain of salt, he’s been giving it to the waratahs for years trying to get media attention, great player but he’s turning into a bit of a campo

    • bill

      Can’t believe Ella reckons White had the best of things.

      For me that game made it clear who ought to be our next coach and it isn’t Jake.
      All respect to Jake, he’s got the brumbs playing with a terrific sense of unity and purpose and resilience. But, and it’s a butt bigger than Clive Palmer and Gina R sharing a toga, that gameplan on sat night was what we’ve been seeing Robbie, somewhat ineptly, try to get the wallabies to play since 2011.

      The thing is, even if it works we still lose because it’s just shit rugby. There’s no way I want to watch the wallabies play like cynical spineless cheats, if I wanted to watch that crap I’d support the All Blacks or the Poms. They’re supposed to be our best and brightest, not our most inhibited and joyless.

    • Could not read most of the article because it requires subscription to The Australian. That’s not going to happen.

  • Robson

    With their gifted backline, the turnovers they achieved, the efficiency of their set piece and the mountain of possession they had, there is no way the Blues should have lost last night; especially given the number of tackles missed by the Reds.
    So how did the Reds sneak away with it?
    Basically the Blues have ceased being the rabble that they were last year and now play to a disciplined game plan. The wrong game plan. By keeping the ball moving and constantly adding width to the attack they kept presenting the Reds with targets to tackle. A lesser side would have succumbed to that, but the Reds kept backing up their tacklers with still more tacklers and, except for one unfortunate lapse from Jonno Lance, succeeded in doing this throughout the night.
    The Blues needed a vastly more direct approach, a bit like that which the Reds employed on the few occasions they had the pill. But they freed the ball to the backline at every opportunity just like they were told to – and the Reds were waiting for them. They tried a drive from the lineout once which disintergrated in the face of a ferocious counter drive from the Reds. I thought the penny would have dropped at halftime, but the Blues came straight out and continued their lateral running attack. All of which was fantastic to watch, but all or which turned to ashes by the most continuously resolute defence I’ve seen for a long time. It did prove one thing though. The Reds are way fitter than JK thought they were when he pronounced pre game that they were going to run them off their feet.

    • bill

      The problem with attritional game plans is they take time to work. It’s easy to overlook just how much sheer willpower and guts it took for the reds to get through that. I think most teams would have been swamped by the blues. To me it was a good way to attack the reds, it’s just that the reds were just good enough…. and they used up some of their nine lives tonight.

      I know I was thinking the blues width and ball retention in attack was really stretching us.

      • Robson

        Yep and as I say, a lesser side would have succumbed to it. Somehow though I feel that Link and his team expected exactly what they got from the Blues and were mentally up for the task before they took the paddock. All the same I’m surprised that the Blues didn’t introduce some variables into their game plan in the second spell. Maybe they were actually getting more ball than the anticipated!!!

    • bill

      I think this is how the tahs will try and play the reds when next we meet .

  • bill

    After watching ref cam and the way Joubert dealt with his communication with the players I think Ref cam should be mandatory for refs at this and test level. Got nothing but respect for Joubert after that.

    Quick, clear and concise communication and left no room for ‘ref management’ by the players. Ali Williams was pretty good if you ask me, but at times Joubert probably could have told him he was being a little needlessly pestiferous.

    I guess for less assured refs having the refcam would be an intrusion, but I think it’d be great feedback for them as well. It would also let the audience realise what they’ve got to deal with and get them better engaged with the refs.

    There’ll always be days where it’ll be an unwelcome witness but overall I think it’d be a good thing.

    …I can just imagine Steve Walsh applying the mascara now.

  • stillatragic

    Gill had a quiet night by his standards. When the Reds were at the breakdown, time and time again the Blues flooded the breakdown area and defenders were sent flying by Blues taking the defender out of the ruck. This is an All Black play as well.

    Is this legal? I thought that a player joining the ruck couldn’t go off their feet and had to stay bound to other players, quite specifically.

    This play allows a quick recycle for the attacking team, and no chance of a turn-over. I’m not complaining. This is a legitimate question. What allowance is made at the breakdown. There seems a huge variation in how Law 16 is policed. Any refs like to comment?

Northern Provincial Rugby

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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