Sunday afternoon Rugby in Brisbane is always special, but when it’s on a beautiful clear Autumn day it’s nearly perfect.
The chiefs had the early running until Liam Messams pass into the arms of Mike Harris, who scuttled off downfield attracting three defenders before passing to Dom Shipperly for the Try. Harris couldn’t convert the try but the Reds lead 5-0
All of a sudden the reds are looking dangerous! They move the ball left from the kick off and Morahan slips the tackle of Kahui and bolts off down the eastern touch line. This time the Chiefs defence is everywhere and Morahan’s pass to Ant Faingaa goes to ground.
The Reds are looking to make metres around the Ruck and it’s working. The pick and drive from Anthony Faingaa and the forward pack is beautifully executed.
The Chiefs backs are looking very dangerous. Every time they get the ball in space their making big metres. After another big run there is a forward pass in the Reds 22. The Reds collapse the scrum and Cruden easily puts the resulting penalty kick between the posts, it’s now 5-3
The Chiefs work their way out of their half but knock on near the 40 metre line. They try to walk the scrum around the 90 deg mark but Jonkers pings them for spinning the scrum. Harris kicks the penalty to stretch the lead to 8-3
The first 20 minutes have been fairly even with the Chiefs having the better of the play but the Reds scoring more points. Both teams are looking very dangerous ball in hand.
The chiefs are dominating this period of play. They are camped deep in Reds territory and there is nothing the Reds can do to get out. This much ball and territory must surely start to tell. And it does! After a great run from Aseli Tikoirotuma Aaron Cruden takes the ball across field drawing 2 defenders and putting a perfect pass on Sonny Bill Williams chest to score under the posts. Cruden converts the try to have the score sitting at 8-10.
Liam Messam is over just 2 minutes later. After some aimless kicking Mike Harris tries to kick long for touch but the ball doesn’t make the touch line. Alex Bradley takes the kick and finds Williams who decides to run it back. He gets past James Horwill and from there quick hands beat the Reds brutal tackles to put Lelia Masaga away who sets up Messam beautifully. The conversion is missed but the score is 8-17.
Five minutes until half time and Richard Kahui is flying down the western touchline and slips a pass to Aseli Tikoirotuma in the tackle. He falls awkwardly and appears to dislocate his shoulder. This is a huge loss for the Chiefs side and only time will tell if it makes an impact on this game.
The chiefs win the ball back from a turnover at the ruck and stream down the left flank only to be pulled up a metre from the line. Sona Taumalolo is the king of scoring from this position and barges over for his 6th try of the year! He now sits comfortably in 2nd place on the try scoring list. That’s 3 tries in 8 minutes to the Chiefs the Reds need to come up with something to stay in this game. 8-22.
The Chiefs are on top with 90 sec to play in the first half. The Reds get a penalty for obstruction from the kick off. 30 sec from half time Skipper Jame Horwill elects to go for touch! The crowd loves it, but it’s a long shot from here. Another penalty at the lineout for driving under the jumper while he’s in the air. The Reds run it as the half time hooter sounds. For the next minute they smash their bodies against the Chiefs brick wall defence until they shift the ball to Ben Lucas on the wide blind side who slips through the defence to score. Harris converts the try for a 15-22 half time score line. An amazing 13 minutes of play that has seen four tries scored and the fortunes of both teams hang in the balance.
The half time stats heavily favour the Chiefs.
- Ruck and maul Chiefs 34-24
- Line breaks Chiefs 6-2
- Missed Tackles Reds 22-7
- Turnovers Chiefs 12-9
It will take a big second half to turn the game around for the Reds.
Straight after the break the Reds score a try that will make any forward proud. Harris shoots a low hard kick off to the left that Rob Simmons regathers. No back touches the ball for the next minute and 10 sec. The Reds forwards pick and go for 40 metres until Scott Higginbotham plants the ball over the line. Harris converts and it’s back to even scores at 22-22.
The Reds have come back from Half time with a new commitment. Greg Holmes comes on for Ben Daley who looks like he has a shoulder problem.
Will Genia decides it’s time to re-enact his heroic try from last years final. He splits Bradley and Latimer at the scrum base and sprints 50 metres through the centre of the Chiefs defence to score in the left corner. The 2 tries are so similar you could almost say only the defences jersey’s have changed. Australia’s first choice half back is back in the big time! Converted for a 29-22 lead. Both teams have now scored 3 tries in an 8 minute period!
Jake Schatz makes way for a second fetcher in Beau Robinson. Robinson makes an immediate impact with a beautiful grubber down the eastern touchline forcing Aseli Tikoirotuma to run it over the sideline. The Reds set up a maul from the lineout 5 metres from the tryline and with the help of Harris and Ant Faingaa cart the ball forward for Saia Faingaa to Score. Harris’s kicking is on song now and he nails the kick from the sideline for a 36-22 lead.
The Chiefs are desperate for tries now. They knock back 2 kicks at goal for a chance of a try. And after a long build up Aseli Tikoirotuma crosses in the corner. The reds simple ran out of defenders. Cruden shot a goal misses to the right so the score stays at 36-27 with 20 minutes to play.
Field Goal! Mike Harris slots it just inside the right post to stretch the lead to 39-27.
The Chiefs are desperate for the win now. They’re running everything back at the Reds. The Reds seem to be growing in stature as the game goes on. They are determined to stop the chiefs scoring again. Every time the Reds win the ball they are kicking it long and deep into the Chiefs half. They don’t want the New Zealanders anywhere near their try line. The Chiefs are desperate for the ball now and they push the offside line too hard and give a penalty for Mike Harris to kick. 42-27.
QUEENSLAND REDS 42
(Liam Messam, Sona Taumalolo, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Sonny Bill Williams tries Aaron Cruden 2 cons pen)
Referee: Marius Jonker.
The Chiefs lost Richard Kahui with a Shoulder dislocation.
The Reds subbed Ben Daley with a shoulder problem
We could talk about Richard Kahui’s injury. Or the Try blitz either side of half time. But for me the moment was James Horwill decision to forsake easy points and kick for the sideline and a chance at a try with 90 seconds to go in the first half. And then to score the Try. The reds went into the sheds on a high instead of thinking about the 3 try hammering they had copped in the 10 minutes preceding.
Kahui was massive until his injury. As were Sonny Bill William and Aaron Cruden. For the reds Morahan besides the tip tackle was good. Higginbotham stood out as did Liam Gill. Anthony Faingaa was massive in defence. But my vote goes to will Genia for his kicking, leadership, direction and for repeating the try from the final last year.
The Talking Point
Luke Morahan Attempts to tackle Sonny Bill Williams with about 10 minutes to go in the match. Williams tries to turn and off load in the tackle as Morahan drives through. His feet leave the ground and he lands on his shoulder. The referee’s indicate that it’s a yellow card offence but because they have no number it’s a penalty to the chiefs. Morahan plays the last 10 minutes saving 2 or 3 tries in the process.
I haven’t looked at the tackle in detail but at first glance it didn’t seem particularly bad. The question I think coming out of this situation is the role of the Television match official. It there a case for this referee to be instantly looking at foul play as soon as it is alerted to? Shouldn’t the on field referee be able to ask the off field referee for a players number and clarification of foul play? IT’s not like it’s an extra cost for SANZAR the referee and the equipment are already there!