The Reds are counting the cost and crossing their fingers after a brutal encounter with the sharks in South Africa. In a game marred by injury to both sides the Reds seemed to suffer the most with both flyhalf options injured before the fifty minute mark. Despite the rain and wind streaming across the ground both teams played open, positive attacking Rugby. But for the injury worries and the result I’m very please with the way the reds went into this game and how they toughed out the second half with a major backline reshuffle.
There will be talk in Australia about refereeing inconsistencies but anyone would be able to pick out moments in any game where referees miss infringements and this game was no exception. The important thing to remember is that over all the refereeing was even handed and fair. The positives for the Reds was the return to form of many players with Digby Ioane and Will Genia ( until his enforced move to 5/8) at the top of the list. Some of the attacking flow has returned with Ben lucas’s inclusion at 5/8 and Mike Harris looked more comfortable at inside centre. Ioane’s sinbinning for a lifting tackle was not unique this season but to many old timers there seems to be over cautious reaction to any tackled players feet leaving the ground.
Both teams will take a lot from this game. The Reds forwards for the most part stood up well to their South Afriacn counter parts. Greg Holmes had a huge game in his first start for a while. Scott Higgenbotham continued his great form this season and it’s interesting to note the lack of winger jokes attached to his name. The sharks are now well aware that they are up with the front runners in this competition. Their backrow of Alberts. Coetzee and Daniels are a world class unit and wouldn’t look out of place in South African colours and 5/8 Lambe continues to impress.
Sharks 27 (Keegan Daniel, Jan Andre Marais, Riaan Viljoen tries Patrick Lambie 3 cons 2 pen)
Reds 22 (Nick Frisby, James Hanson, Scott Higginbotham tries Michael Harris, Ben Lucas cons Lucas pen)
The Reds will be nervously waiting on news from Mike Harris with a twisted knee and Ben Lucas with what looked like a hamstring problem. Although both players walked off the field.
The Sharks lost JP Pieterson in the warm up. Jannie Du Plessis went off at the 30 minute mark with an unknown injury and didn’t return. Stephen Sykes Did a knee and left on the golf cart. Never a good sign. And they lost Wiehahn Herbst late in the match.
While the 13 unanswered point the Sharks scored around the half time mark had an impact on the game my moment came about 10 minutes after half time when Ben Lucas limped off the field. With Lucas gone the Reds had no backline General and no goal kicker. They would struggle to stay in touch from that moment on.
Higginbothim had a good match. Riaan Viljoen showed class. Ioane was everywhere but, Marcell Coetzee was EVERYWHERE. Big, fast and a destructive ball runner. Where do they keep finding them.
THE TALKING POINT
Digby Ioane penalized, sin binned and now cited for a lifting tackle. How far should we be going with what even a few years ago was simple considered a good hard tackle? What do you think the penalty for this particular tackle should be? And do you think we have gone too far with the lifting tackle laws or not far enough. Be aware I believe that any resulting injury should have no bearing on the penalty. In other words it doesn’t matter how much you like or dislike the tackled player or if he was injured or not. The penalties should be the same. I look forward to the discussion.
Harris lucas hurt
Reds try everything to win
A Shark cruises past.