Stormers v Reds, A Plane Ride Too Far - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

Stormers v Reds, A Plane Ride Too Far

Stormers v Reds, A Plane Ride Too Far

The Reds this season have exceeded all expectations. A young team with a rookie coach was supposed to be easy meat for more experienced sides. No one thought to tell the Reds what was supposed to happen. The Stormers may be under the Reds on the ladder but they have already played their games in NZ. Can the Reds keep their momentum going or will the Stormers attacking play be too much for the Reds brick wall defence? 

The Match

The first half

A great half of rugby by the Stormers and especially Damian Willemse saw them score two tries and move out to an 18 nill lead before the Reds scored a late try to stay in the match but, the Stormers still took an 18-7 lead into halftime.

The Reds had no answer to the Stormers rush defence when they carried the ball and Willemse had the ball on a string in attack. The Reds didn’t help their cause with poor kicks for touch allowing the Stormers back three to attack from depth. Ben Lucas’s work at scrum-half lacked the speed and decisiveness of the rested James Tuttle and flyhalf Jono Lance made a few errors under pressure.

The Stormers controlled play for the vast majority of the halves play but the Reds were far too willing to kick the ball away instead of working the ball upfield.

The second half

The Reds started the second half with a quick try to get within four points of the Stormers but, within five minutes they had scored and converted their own try to maintain the gap they had taken into half time. The Reds again lacked patience and ideas in attack and resorted to kicking possession to the Stormers. In comparison, the Stormers kicks always seemed to be contestable.

The Stormers once again controlled the games tempo and field position. The Reds were not able to dominate the scrum or lineout as they have been doing in previous matches and much of their game is built on that dominance.

Late in the game, the Reds scored a 90 metre try through Filipo Daugunu to get within seven points and after the kick off a strong run from Aiden Toua and a penalty saw them with a lineout close to the Stormers line. The Reds tried to push the resulting maul over the line to score but couldn’t control it and it collapsed with the ball unplayable. That was the end of the game with a well-deserved win for the Stormers despite the late scare. The Reds would be secretly happy with a win and a losing bonus point on their African tour.

The Game Changer

This game was controlled by the Stormers from the opening whistle so I can’t pick a game changer except for the opening whistle.


The Reds played hard but the only player I think I can mention here is Caleb Timu. For the Stormers though Stef De Toit, Damien De Alliende and Raymond Rhule all had great games. But for me, the guy who controlled things and was a handful with the ball with hand a foot was Damian Willemse. He is our GAGR man of the match.

Wallaby watch

This was a tough game for the Reds and the only guy who stood out for me was Caleb Timu. With a couple of Wallaby ineligible player running around at #8 he must be a strong chance of seeing some sort of gold jersey this season. James slipper also had a strong match.

The Details


Score & Scorers

Stormers: 25
Tries: Dewaldt Duvenage, Wilco Louw, Raymond Rhule,
Conversions: Damian Willemse 2/3
Penalties:  Damian Willemse 2/2
Reds: 19
Tries: Caleb Timu, Alex Mafi, Filipo Daugunu
Conversions: Jono Lance 2/3

Cards & citings


  • Cole

    Thanks for the write up.
    I’m so happy I get to watch the Reds each week. I’d like to see how QRU are going to align pathways with the Thorn culture and make it stick long term. Caleb Timu can’t wait to see if he can make it at Wallabies level.

  • Gottsy

    Good work on the write up Sully.
    The reds were up against it from the get-go and showed a fair bit of character to stick it out for the whole 80.
    Was a bit of a sloppy performance, but was almost to be expected. Some of the tackles from Fa’agase and tupou were horrid though, fingers crossed we can get these things out of our game. The boys will be better for the trip but will be looking forward to getting home and getting a week off

  • Fatflanker

    Hope the poor buggers weren’t sharing a flight with our disgraceful cricket team.

  • McWarren

    Nice work Scully.

    I actually enjoyed that game, bar the one eyed saga commentator calling for cards and reviews every time a Stormer was tackled.

    For me three players were below standards or the Reds, players I like unfortunately:

    1. Tupou let us down in the scrums. I’m not sure if the ref was right or wrong about him engaging early but Tupou needed to adapt anyway. Some of those scrums were on our own feed and in good position. Other than his scrummaging he ad okay game.

    2. Lucas at 9 looked rusty, I don’t want to be too harsh on him as I think he is better than what he displayed last night. His service was slow and at times he and His forwards looked like it was the first time they’d met each other.

    3. DP at 12 has in my opinion regressed as an attacking player. He needs to shelve his kicking game and live or die by running the ball. Between him ad Toua I think we made in excess of 10 pointless kicks behind their defensive line. I’m all for countering a rush defence with a short kicking game but your kicks need to be spot on.

    I thought our best players were Timu, Rodda, Lance and Slipper. Mafi was good as well. And a guy who is making me eat my words is CFS (I can’t spell his name) is really hitting his strides, I’d like to see him at 13 all season, and only a year ago I was calling for him to be let go.

    The whole team looked tired but committed and to see them in with a chance at 81 minutes is a testament to the players and coach. The Reds didn’t play well, were tired, shooting themselves in the foot, down by 18 early in the game but showed grit and determination to put themselves in the hunt, that was really pleasing.

    • 1 no he didn’t. the Reds would have had to change their entire set up to fix it not just tupou.
      2. I think that’s about as good as he gets. But I’ve been wrong about halves before. I once said Tuttle wasn’t up to Super Rugby standard and never would be.
      3. fair enough but hard to judge Duncan without Tuttle and Lance having an off game in attack. Allthough I absolutely agree with the stupid kicking reference.

      • idiot savant

        1. I agree with you re Tupou. It looked like the ref was really penalising the whole pack for transferring too much weight at engagement. When Higgers came on he was trying (or appearing to) to pull the second rowers back at engagement. Considering how early he penalised Tupou – I can not help but think there was a element of premeditation. I dont know if the Saffa press had been discussing it during the week or not but it looked very like the Reds scrum had been studied and theories circulated about how to nullify their impact. It will be interesting to see if they continue to be penalised for the same thing.

        2. I like Lucas’ smarts but his slow delivery was the single most important factor in amplifying the rush defence pressure and making Lance’s life hell. I think thats why McDermott came on so early. And the pressure didnt seem quite as bad after that.

        3. Poor young DP looked desperate to me. The line speed pressure gave him no time and he rushed everything. The grubber was the right idea but no one executed it correctly. He has class and will come back.

      • McWarren

        Point 1 yep I see your point. But what happens when the next ref picks on something obscure. How do we communicate with the red to work out a solution on the field?

        Point 2 I think the rotation policy doesn’t help in the key 8 9 10 roles. Lucas looked like he was in a trial game just getting to know his team.

        Point 3 DP for me made his name as a runner and passer not a tactical kicker. He needs to trust his footwork to beat rushing defence.

  • Gipetto

    Can anyone explain the scrum penalties? The SA forwards have one leg forward to hold their weight and the Reds use the back five forwards to hold the front row back pre-engagement. If there is no early engagement how can the reds technique be penalised. We needed JP Smith to run on with the water to explain what the Ref was saying.

    • onlinesideline

      That was insane. What is it with these damn saffas refs and their bee in bonnet issues that domainate their performances. They are such little show ponies that always make the game about them. They are worse than the French who are just plain dopey. Thor corrected his engagement and it didnnt make an ounce of difference. Was starting to feel like the romanian ref. I was sooo hoping for a pushover maul in last play to stick it up that refs arse – where have neutral country refs gone ?

      • The scrum penalties really shit me because once it starts, and he may of been right the first time, there is nothing to stop the stormers prop pre-engaging everytime after that and getting a free penalty.
        Let’s look at what he was actually asking the Reds to do? He didn’t like the entire way our scrum was set up. He wanted the Reds to change everything about the way they pre-engage to stop something that makes absolutely no difference to a 2018 style scrum.
        The hit is meaningless, a left over from another era, kept to appease a bunch of old bastards who screamed everytime someone suggested it wasn’t actually part of the game.
        It’s a stupid penalty and not a simple fix by any means and if he didn’t like it running around during a match handing out random penalties was not the place to do it.

        • onlinesideline

          Agreed mate – I have long said that the biggest impediment to rugby union is refs and the impact that they can have on a game with issues, that like you say, are completely and utterly meaningless in the bigger picture. But this guy was bordering on crooked. Is it so difficult for a multi-billion dollar global sport to organize 4 saffa refs in NZ, 4 kiwi refs in SA and 4 aussie refs in NZ. The game is run by amateurs on so many levels, who just wine and dine out 365 at everyones expense at the best restauarants, conferences – its just all BS. Where is the marketing of the game, I see nothing, ever. Its a joke beyond words. I wish Twiggy would smash these bastards out of their London Fog and turn the game upside down.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Here here!

        • Gun

          Here, here, here. Watch NFL, the personality of the, professional refs, is largely meaningless. That’s where we need to get to at super and test level.

        • Brisneyland Local

          THeir skill set is much better. Nigel Owens has personality but is a great referee. Where as Roman Poite has personality and is an ocean going variety of knob jockey!

        • Gun

          I agree. Personality should be no factor and not noticed. We know too much about the refs in rugby and they tend to make themselves part of the game.

        • John Tynan

          At one point Slipper said to the ref “I can do exactly the same to their prop, but I’m not…”.

  • Andy

    Looks like we’ve found a good ball running 8. With Isa N. Becoming eligible in 12 months that’s 2. very good options to have up our sleeve.

    • Jasper Sapien.

      Shame it’ll be Poey played out of position instead.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well done as always for the great write up Sully. Such passion! Happy Sunday morning GAGR’s. Just back from my Sunday morning exercise in futility, a 60km ride, to try and ensure this old second rower doesnt start looking like a prop!

    – Have just watched the replay and have to agree with Sully’s comments about the pointless kicking. The Lance up and under was fucking pointless.
    – They, the Reds showed plenty of heart, and unlike the Reds of old that would have just dropped their bundle, these guys didnt.
    – Those scrum penalties were just random. Look admittedly as an old second rower, scrum were a mystery to me, I just put my head down and pushed like a bastard. So I wont ever claim to be a scrum expert. But I couldnt make head nor tail of that.
    – The Reds whilst fit, just looked mentally fatigued from the travel which I believed affected their decision making.
    – Saffa commentators are as biased as Kearnsey is about the Waratarts! I fucking hate listening to them. Believe it or not I think the Kiwi commentators are the best. (Dont tell KRL)!
    – I think a week off will be a good thing for them to regroup.

    Look GAGR’s I dont think they will win the cup, but I am happy to say I am seeing constant improvement, fitness, discipline, reasonable defence, and a good scrum (when not being randomly penalised by a crazy Saffa Ref). I lok forward to the end of the year to see this constant improvement continue. Over to yu GAGR’s!

    • Gun

      You going to reactivate the membership soon?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Not this year. I committed to a year on the bench. Because of the QRU administration and dealings. Not Thorn and the lads. I still strongly support them, and what BT is doing. Just the dodgy dealings of the QRU and its utter incompetence and malfeasance is what I am protesting about.

    • onlinesideline

      I would have liked to see the reds keep it in close and just slow the game down and just feel the ball in their hands for a bit. They actually were playing a team of speedsters like themselves who were suceeding at rush defense. I would have really liked to have seen the reds show some maturity and go the old pick and drive and just punch it down the sideline and turn the saffas around. But we seemed to play into their hands with the tactics they wanted – when the time is right we should have gone for it but we were too helter skelter. Box kicking gives me the absolute royals shits – have never seen it worth didley sqaut as a tactic. Whats the justification, what does it do, what, someone tell me, please.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree. They were just mentally spent! This really screwed with their decision making under pressure. And there is little doubt that they were under pressure from the moment the whistle blew!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well done on the bike ride mate. Keeps the heart pumping and that’s always good.

      I thought the two standout players were Mafi and Lance. Mafi was awesome in that game. A lot of huge tackles, some great hit ups and real passion. I think Lance is the stand out 10 in Aus rugby at the moment. Poor old Lucas just didn’t cut it in that match and to perform that well with such slow laboured ball was great. Lance can pass, can kick tactically, is friggen awesome in defence and has a good running game.
      TBH I think the biggest issue in Aus rugby is getting a couple of halves like Aaron Smith and Perenara in their game. Poor old Lance. Passing from the ground was absolute crap and to get any speed he needs to take a couple of steps. Genia is great but he needs a back up and at times he starts walking into the pass as well. If Jono Lance was playing outside Smith or Perenara he’d be magic

      • Brisneyland Local

        KRL, as always great points. Mind you I think an U17’s flyhalf playing outside of Smith or Perenara would look pretty good. Mafi had a great one. BT certainly has they hungry for the contact, and hungry for the contest of the pil. That is hard to instill in some players and he has a whole squad believing in it. A week off and they should come back hard as nails.

      • Brendan Hume

        He’d look good with Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith on his outside as well!!!
        Agree though, he’s been very solid in the basics.
        Reds are lacking just a bit of creative flair. I imagine Hunt at 15 was the plan to solve this… not sure what the go to is now.

    • Adrian

      Best commentators are when you accidentally get Afrikaans with English subtitles

  • Straith

    I haven’t even watched the game yet, but i just watched the highlights and the 1st Stormers try where its a 2 on 2 at the wing. linked here:

    I just don’t know how you can be paid thousands a year and you do this as a career and still not STICK YOUR FUCKING MAN AS A WINGER. I MEAN FUCK ME your job as a winger is simple enough as it is, but without a doubt, almost every damn game I see this happen when its totally avoidable, even at the wallabies. Trust your inside man you brain dead piece of shit, legit 7 IQ on these blokes. It’s the only fucking thing the attacker wants to do and you fall for it?!?!?! He wants to draw you in and pass to the unmarked winger, and every fucking time – without fail, the professional winger who faces the same tactic at training and every Saturday for the past 15 years falls for it. If I was this blokes coach watching the game back on Monday I would stand him out the front and slap him silly and if he ever made the mistake again I’d make sure he never got paid a dollar to play rugby again.

    I play shit tier bottom grade touch rugby and got baited by the 2nd last man when he tried this stunt in my first game – haven’t fell for it again for 3 seasons. Wheres my 100k contract?

  • muffy

    Lost count how many times the TMO went back for possible Saffa foul play …. oh wait, I remember- not once!

    • onlinesideline

      I ‘d be interested to know how many times they went back for reds foul play actually – was it 5 ?

  • Brisneyland Local

    I am wondering how important that losing bonus point the Reds just earnt will be at the end of the season?

    • onlinesideline

      plenty important – they are going to be right in this. Alot hinges round Jono Lance though. Hope he stays injury free.

      • Brisneyland Local

        If he gets injured, how long til they have to bring back QC?

        • onlinesideline

          Mate I dont think Thorn is stupid stubborn but I really dont think he will bring Quade back for no of reasons. Some of it Im sure is his flakiness and soft defence but I really think its also about the sheer “volume of presence” QC has within teams. Its just who Quade is. And I think that goes against what Thorn likes. Hes obviously come to this conclusion from 20 years playing, that egos destroy that intangible element Thorn obviously considers very important – some call it team spirit, others humility, but if you look at this team, there does seem to be a complete absence of show ponies. It could be Thorns main bugbear.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Interesting! My nephew was in the squad for a year, a lot of it QC was there. He speaks of him being quite quietly spoken and not the way he is seen. He said he was hugely respected by the squad. But it’s BT’s squad now and he gets the choice. So far he is doing a great job, and I hope he continues doing so. Just seems a giant waste to me. We dont have 10’s to burn!

        • onlinesideline

          stranger things have happened and if injuries do occur he may be called back – its all fun and games mate – luv rugga

        • Jasper Sapien.

          Quade is born again too, remember that prayer circle?

        • idiot savant

          The Reds won 4 games last year when QC was given carte blanche to run the show with no restrictions placed on him. The Reds have won 3 already this year without him. Id say the evidence is already there that the team can do better without him.

      • John Tynan

        He (Lance) is looking pretty tired already. I’m nervous. And not seeing as many minutes from Stewart as I thought we would by now.

  • Adrian

    An ok performance by Reds, under the circumstances.

    Apart from other analysis here, I’d like to mention Kerevi and his defence.

    He certainly can tackle (at 12 and 13), but he can’t twist and move laterally that quickly.
    He is actually a huge man, fast, and a great footballer in most respects.

    Big guys like Kurandrani and SBW seem better able to twist and tackle someone before they have sliced through.

    I don’t know the answer, except for lots of practice

    • idiot savant

      Yes Adrian. Its been a problem for a long time. He doesn’t stay above his feet when his opponent changes direction on him. He plants his feet and lunges with his upper body. I think he needs boxing training, and to try upright wrapping tackles rather than low tackles, all to to get his feet moving to his opponent not his upper body.

      • Adrian

        Ok, I hadn’t looked at details idiot, but perhaps coaching and practice can fix this

  • Adrian

    IMO all halves used by Reds this year and last deliver slow ball, and sometimes inaccurate ball.

    I also think that Lance is doing a great job at 10, and Stewart does too… notwithstanding slow ball.

    One thing Qld could do, is find a brilliant and fast passer, and plonk him at 9.

    There is a guy playing for Brisbane Souths who can do that stuff, and has even done it for the Wallabies when they’ve had the 9 in the sin-bin

    I know, … silly shit,…playin out of position and all of that

    • idiot savant

      Id like to see Phipps behind the Reds pack….

      • Adrian

        Actually, I would too.

        He was lightning fast behind that monsterous Tags pack in 2014.

        Shoot me now

    • McWarren

      Have you watched Tuttle and McDermott this year Adrian? Slow delivery is not one of there weaker points IMO. Lucas was slow last night but I think he is better than what he showed.

      Part of last nights issues stemmed from the rotation policy in place. I understand it’s benefits but it really disrupts combinations at 8,9 & 10 in particular.

      • Adrian

        Agree that rotation effects things, but has a purpose.

        Yes, I’ve seen Tuttle and McDermott play, and they aren’t the slowest of all time. I don’t think they are fast however, and Tuttle (for me) takes too long to get to each ruck or mail, even though he then passes swiftly. McDermott, and another Reds halfback whose name escapes me seem quicker, but still not quick.

        I have previously only seen Lucas as a bench guy covering 9 and 10, but I may have missed something.

        My inference of trying Cooper is only partly serious, but he does have a great and fast and accurate pass.

      • John Tynan

        mcW, I beg to differ on a couple of points.
        Lucas gets lots of love for some reason, but I never saw it in his last stint in Red, and on his return the other night, I saw what I remembered – the Oz halfback scourge of taking a couple of stutter steps to pass, and Phipps-like accuracy.
        While this display did put Tuttle in a better light, I’ve been noting that Tuttle’s passing doesn’t have “airspeed”, it seems to take an age for his passes to cover distance, combined with him shelving any sort of running game.

  • Simon

    I think pretty much all of us would have taken it if you’d offered us a win and a losing BP from this tour. Well done Reds.

    I’m reading Thor got cited for his no-arms, off-the-ball tackle. Not sure it met red threshold but it was a definite yellow, we were extremely lucky to get away with that on the field. The TMO said it was “fine” – must have been looking at the wrong incident, is the only thing I can conclude.

    • My gas, is that taniela Tupou is gone for 2 or 3 weeks for a tackle.

  • John Tynan

    Well GAGR’s, my summary from that game is that we have reached a point that I think no-one was anticipating we would reach until maybe the last couple of games of the season, if it all went well.
    I’m totally on board with the “no excuses” bit, so won’t go into the travel debacle, even though it obviously has an impact.
    I was very proud of the players to be in a position to win it at the death if they were good enough. The fact they weren’t and couldn’t is a fair reflection of the game I think.
    So back to my opening premise – I think the coaching and selection was shown up in this game. The selection changes weren’t really effective. Lucas had a shocker if he’s being measured by delivery to his 5/8. CFS on the wing doesn’t work for me, although he tried hard. As for the game plan, why the hell did we think we would be able to go wide/around at the Stormers? It needed the Kerevi/CFS centre pairing, direct lines, close to the forwards.
    And all of those changes totally buggered the defensive spacing. It looked like half of the blokes were playing an up and in, while the other half were playing an up and drift. The Stormers had at least half a dozen clear overlaps that they butchered of their own accord again.
    I’m interested in where/how this coaching team can develop themselves – McGahan has a record better than maybe one bloke – RGraham – and at the Rebels consistently showed he is not a good selector (all IMO, obviously). Thorn will only get so far on motivation, and the honeymoon period will wear off, by which time he needs “his” vision on strategy and game plan to be showing through to stay as head coach.
    For the time being though, the playing group have bought in, and pride has been restored. As a reds supporter, this pleases me greatly.

Queensland Reds

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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