Tourists attack Sharks! - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Tourists attack Sharks!

Tourists attack Sharks!

The Reds were really disappointed with their loss last week against the Bulls. REALLY disappointed.  But apparently, they trained really well and really wanted to win this week. Really! They did!

The First Half Synopsis

Well, perhaps they were right. There was immediate improvement for the Reds and immediate results with Bryce Hegarty first to score, following a great charge by Alex Mafi after he recovered a loose Sharks lineout through.

The Reds attach looked a lot more varied and sharp and was notably improved on last week. We saw some actual backline moves and different lines run. As a result each of Samu Kerevi, Hamish Stewart, Chris Feauai-Sautia and Sefa Naivalu found space and looked dangerous. Likewise the pack was playing with more intent and worked hard in all aspects of their play.

Notably the Sharks turned down a few penalty goal opportunities, instead opting to kick for the corner and back their set piece.  None of them paid off though as their propensity to turn over the ball on attack remained.

It was not long after one such turnover that the Reds were in again. The pack marched their own way up field from a driving maul before, after drawing an advantage, Kerevi powered through the line and served up a delightful offload on the inside to Feauai-Sautia to complete the movement and score. 14-0

Finally one of the Sharks decision to kick for touch paid off and they were able to score a try through their hooker Kerron van Vuuren from a driving maul 5m out. Reds 14-7

The Sharks really blew their chances.  While the Reds only really had two chances (perhaps one other when Naivalu dropped a simple pass with some space in front), the Sharks were in the position to score a handful of tries that poor handling denied them.

The Sharks will feel they should have had the lead considering they forwent about 9 points through neglected shots at goal, and at least three try scoring opportunities through dropped ball.  The Reds’ defence was well organised and they were a lot more clinical with the limited ball they had.

The Second Half Synopsis

The second half started with a sustained period of some good hard rugby.  Both teams were throwing everything they had at the opposition and the respective defence was throwing it back.  The Reds probably had the best of the first 10 minutes, with some more Sharks dropsies, but the points weren’t flowing their way.

The flowed soon after, through one of their best tries of the season. Once again that man Kerevi started things but interchanges between Jock Campbell, CFS, Hegarty, McDermott and Higginbotham lead to McDermott backing up to dart over for a valuable try that stretched the lead to 14 points (21-7) with less than 20 minutes to go.

The try received a bonus lift immediately after when it looked like the Sharks would get in again. Hot on attack and with the Reds’ backs seemingly dropping like flies, the visitors delivered some gutsy defence under immense pressure. This time the Sharks wouldn’t drop the ball and foil the play, it would just be some effective Queensland tackling that would do the job.

The Sharks scored the only try in the second half, off the back of a 5m scrum with just minutes to go, but it wasn’t necessarily bad rugby.  No in fact, the Sharks were pretty terrible. Their handling remained below standard all match and it was notable their only two tries were from forwards rumbling over from close range.

The Reds will be thrilled with their win – their first away against the Sharks since that epic 6-5 win in 2004.  While the Sharks weren’t at their best, the Reds were a big improvement on last week and any win in South Africa is worth celebrating. The Reds now have a week off, which seems well times, while the poor Sharks must pack up and head off to Sydney where they will take on the Waratahs at the new Western Sydney Stadium.

The Game Changer

The period of defence by the Reds just after McDermott’s try was significant but I am going to say it was the bizarre decisions by the Sharks to ignore shots at goal early on.  They should have taken the easy points when they could have.  The Reds seemed to love the challenge of holding them out.


Tough bloody ask this one.  I was really wanting to give it to Harry Hoopert who was bloody good in his starting debut against a Springbok 20 kg heavier and 10 years older.  Samu Kerevi was obviously very good too and there were plenty of support crew. But the Player of the Match goes to Liam Wright who played it tough and pulled off two key plays late in the game to secure the victory.

Wallaby Watch

The position I am most unsure about at the moment for the Wallabies is probably outside centre. Chris Feauai-Sautia is probably a darkhorse for the spot but he would have to be a candidate. He seems frustratingly lazy at times but he is a super talent and is forming a good combination with Kerevi. Why couldn’t he do it at the test level?

The Details

Score & Scorers

Sharks 14
Tries: Kerron van Vuuren 25’, Jean-Luz du Preez 79’
Conversions: Robert du Preez 26’, Curwin Bosch 80’
Penalties: nil
Reds 21
Tries: Bryce Hegarty 2’, Chris Feauai-Sautia 20’, Tate McDermott 59’
Conversions: Bryce Hegarty 2’, 21’, Hamish Stewart 60’
Penalties: nil
  • Adrian

    Good write up Reg.

    Reds were excellent.

    Bad handling and tackling from Sharks helped, but great effort nonetheless.

    For me, Hooper, Tuopo, Mafi, Lukhan S-L, Wright, McDermott, Hegarty, Kerevi best. No duds.

    My MOM was Hegarty, who controlled the match brilliantly

    • rick with a silent P

      IMO he is the form flyhalf in Aus.

    • RugbyReg

      Hegarty is so crucial isn’t he? Playing very well and underappreciated I reckon.

      The losses can be frustrating but there is clear significant progress in the wins (and even a couple of close losses). They are playing as a team more often which we haven’t seen enough of in recent years.

      • idiot savant

        That was Hegarty’s best match. He ran harder than any other previous match and that extra half metre of pace at the line makes a big difference to the whole backline. Its always been Foley’s strength. Its a subtle thing. He is kicking well too.

  • nmpcart

    Gee the Sharks know how to butcher some good attacking moves don’t they? Their handling was terrible at times but good defence from the Reds and that Mafi break at the start was amazing – I thought he was going to go all the way. Mafi certainly seems to have locked down the starting hooker role of late. Stewart was very solid at fullback too.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Reg, I agree the Sharks were very poor. However I think the good defence from the Reds led to a lot of that. I thought Kerevi was very good and was t it great to see a 10 defend at 10 and pull off some good tackles. I thought the Reds passing was very laboured at times and they need to work on this.
    Wasn’t it great to see the kicks getting some real distance rather than the limp 15 or 20 meters we’ve been used to.
    Loved Mafi’s run to set up the first try.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    That second try from the Reds was outstanding. Patient build up and great work from the forwards during that maul and clinical execution by Kerevi and the backs. How Rugby should be played.

    Yeah the Sharks were terrible, but the Reds sure looked good.

  • SuckerForRed

    Thanks for the write up Reg. Seems I missed a cracker.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      You did mate. I got up early and watched it without knowing the score. Reds played well

  • Brumby Runner

    Always good to see an Aussie side get the win in an inter-conference game. The combination of Kerevi and CFS in the centres has been promising all year.


      Yep, Kerevi has too be locked in at 12 for the Wallabies. ..

      • Mart

        His ability to get over the gain line and always break the first tackle cannot be overlooked

  • Huw Tindall

    Cranky I missed this but some consolation I was on a flight to Barbados at the time. Just watched the highlights and read the reports but I’m getting the gist. Any away win in South Africa is great result (unless you’re playing the Southern Kings). Same characters standing up for the Reds but that’s what you expect in a team that starts to gel. Spine of the team and key players doing the heavy lifting. Hopefully the second half of this round lives up to these first three matches!

  • joy

    Although I will always feel happy with an Australian win, this was one of the most unattractive games I’ve watched this year. Both sides bad passing, no discernible co-ordinated attack, no flow to the point of being jerky. Well, Thorne ball really.


    Well I thought that was a great game by the Reds. Both forwards and backs doing plenty right most of the game. The point that the Sharks didn’t play that great is offset by it being an away game for the Reds!
    IMHO Hamish Stewart still doesn’t look right at this lvl. The caliber of things those around him can do(pretty much everyone in the reds backline) makes him look relatively average and perhaps he’s holding back ANOTHER promising young fullback at the reds!

    • sambo6

      Totally agree on Stewart. I’ve still not seen anything from him in 3 years to suggest he’s anything particularly special. Not saying he’s terrible, but he seems to get a lot of focus/hype/expectation for someone who seems fairly ‘beige’ at this level.

  • Custard Taht

    So we have Izzy being publicly crucified and Brad Thorn being resurrected. Call the pope, it is an Easter miracle, Brad Thorn is the new messiah.

    Great win by the Reds, hopefully they keep it up for the rest of the season.

  • Peter Morse

    Great headline…… So good to see the Reds coming together. Kerevi is a monster.

  • idiot savant

    Good summation Reg. The Sharks skill level is very poor. Many of the handling errors were down to bad passing. But as KRL pointed out the physicality of the Reds defence probably played a role in that. There were some good shots out there. Agree Hoopert really surprised at scrum time. I thought the ref had a very ordinary game and even the Saffa commentators thought Hoopert should not have been penalised for angling in. The Reds scrum was pretty darn good.

    The line out remains a problem in the middle. Id be jumping Wright there all the time. The lifters get his lighter frame up higher. Next time we play the Rebels Id put Wright on Jones the whole game (and dont throw to him!).

    Breakdown was better but I still think the Reds could be so much better there. McDermott was good again, Hegarty quicker and better for it, Kerevi the form back in the Australian conference, CFS strong but still not alive to the offload as often as he could be. Naivalu is also becoming consistent and Stewart seems to get 1% better each game. His running game has improved but he appears vulnerable under the contested highball as he has no leap. Best collaborative performance by the back row this season. ASY is an important player.

Queensland Reds

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

More in Queensland Reds