JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Five down for Reds ... and now for the Tahs

The Reds: Having now banked five from five they'll need to overcome old foe the  Waratahs next week to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Reds: Having now banked five from five they'll need to overcome old foe the Waratahs next week to keep their finals hopes alive. Photo: Gertty Images

After the Reds lost to the Crusaders in Christchurch in May, arithmetic dictated that they would need to win all six of their remaining games if they were any hope of defending their Super Rugby title.

Five games later, they remain alive. Number six? The Waratahs at home on Saturday night. The old derby has rarely had more on the line for the Queenslanders.

The Reds momentarily held down sixth spot but were overtaken overnight by a bonus-point victory by the Sharks over South African rivals the Bulls in Durban. 

After a sluggish season start when they were torn apart by injuries, the Reds have shown the kind of fight that typified their run of 2011. They needed all that heart and more last night in the 19-13 win against the Highlanders, who ripped in like wild bulls as they too tried to keep their hopes afloat.

Reds captain Will Genia fires a pass during last night's clash with the Highlanders.

Reds captain Will Genia fires a pass during last night's clash with the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images

In the end, some selfless defence on the Reds  line and the clutch pilfer of Jake Schatz was enough to repel the men from Otago, who left nothing in the tank but can now kiss their finals chances goodbye. They don’t fly home until tomorrow. By that time, Brisbane may have run out of beer.

The Reds, meanwhile, are rejoicing the brilliant return to form of man-of-the-match Quade Cooper but must try to patch up their squad in time to face the Waratahs.

The Tahs are out of finals contention but represent a potential spanner for today’s opponent , the Brumbies, and next week, Queensland.

Man of the match Quade Cooper.

Man of the match Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

Liam Gill (hamstring) and Digby Ioane (pneumonia) already missed out last night and are joined on the doubtful list by Rob Simmons (corked thigh), Beau Robinson (foot) and Chris F’Sautia (hamstring), who soared beautifully through a gap before breaking down like Dulcify in the Cup.

A bonus point would have been the ideal outcome for the Reds, who momentarily held down sixth spot but were overtaken overnight by a bonus-point victory by the Sharks over South African rivals the Bulls in Durban.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said last night after the Suncorp clash that simply gunning for four tries was never a focus.

The Highlanders were forced to do just that, giving up numerous shots in front of goal early in the match to try to cross the line. That, along with misdirected kicks when they did the get chance, would prove costly.

“The main thing in the end is that we at least won the game. You win the game, you keep pressure on, you keep climbing the ladder. You can work out the mathematics and worry about that. But I can guarantee that if you go out there and say we’ll score four tries, it doesn’t happen,” McKenzie said.

“If you look at their scenario, they went out there to score four tries and they didn’t win. Everyone can be an expert sitting on the sideline. You’ve got to get the four points first. We concentrated on that.”

A whopping 27 penalties, 17 against the Reds, meant it wasn’t a classic night of running rugby. Jonathan Kaplan’s whistle nearly melted as both sides push the boundaries at a fiercely contested breakdown.

Reds captain Will Genia said he was relieved more than anything to hang on until the final whistle from Kaplan went their way and ended the contest.

“We spoke about a couple of tries we let in that were soft and very unlike this group in terms of defence on our line. Thankfully we addressed it and got the penalty at the end there,” Genia said.

“It’s all about character, especially in that breakdown contest. When you’re pushed to the limits on your tryline you just have to front up. And we did. We kept putting numbers in there and the discipline was good.”

And then there was Cooper. In just his second full game after a serious knee injury, the Reds five-eighth took about 10 leaps forward in his recovery. He grew in confidence with every touch, threw some superb cut-out balls and stabbed in some key tactical kicks.

He took on the Highlanders defence on a number of occasions and made some big tackles when called upon in a frantic final series of exchanges. His dual with Berrick Barnes next week will be vital.

“He hasn’t played a lot of football this year. I think he’s doing nice things out there. There’s much better balance than when he played six or eight months ago,” McKenzie said.

“That’s the maturing of the guy. He’s had a lot of time to watch. He’s an analytical guy about the game. We saw some flashes of x-factor there, we also saw some good quality game management.”

McKenzie is justifiably proud of the last-ditch run his side has made at the finals after it appeared it would be a bridge too far. Now the Waratahs stand in their way. Ticket sales have already been strong and it will go close to being sold out.

“We just stuck to our guns. We had to win six from six. We’ve won five from five now. We’ve done just about all we can to get that credibility back and put ourselves in a position where we can challenge. We’ll work out the maths on Monday and go from there.”

2 comments so far

  • A great enthralling contest. Highlanders were a great team and deservedly could have won . So close. Not a game for the lovers of skilful backline play but a professionally managed victory. Next week v The Waratahs will be something else...

    Commenter
    Taylor Bridge
    Location
    West End
    Date and time
    July 07, 2012, 11:39AM
    • Incredibly that Kaplan never brandished the yellow card, given how many team warnings he gave the Reds, and how many penalties they continued to concede.

      Commenter
      The Claw
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 09, 2012, 5:16PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Related Coverage

      Super Rugby 2015

      Round 1
      Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
      BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
      Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
      LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
      BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
      BUL 17 vs STO 29 Stats
      WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
      REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
      Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
      HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
      RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
      Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
      STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
      SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
      FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
      Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
      CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
      REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
      Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
      LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Stats
      BRU 12 vs FOR 5 Stats
      Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
      RED vs WAR 19:40SS
      Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
      STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
      FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
      Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
      HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
      RED vs BRU 19:40SS
      Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
      STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
      CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
      REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
      Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
      Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL vs FOR 02:05Loftus Versfeld
      SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
      WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR vs REB 17:35WS
      RED vs LIO 20:00SS
      Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
      HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
      WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
      Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SHA vs FOR 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
      BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
      HUR vs STO 18:35WS
      REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
      BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
      SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
      LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
      WAR vs STO 20:40AS
      FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
      LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
      HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
      BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
      FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
      CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
      BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
      WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
      RED vs HUR 17:05SS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
      BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
      HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
      REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
      BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
      REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
      FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
      STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
      RED vs REB 20:40SS
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
      WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
      CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
      RED vs SHA 20:40SS
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
      WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
      FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
      STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
      BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
      HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
      FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
      LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
      FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
      BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
      RED vs CHF 20:40SS
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
      STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
      REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
      CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
      WAR vs RED 20:40AS
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
      SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      7 vs 7 10:00
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Brumbies 3 2 1 0 47 10
      Chiefs 4 3 1 0 28 14
      Stormers 3 3 0 0 26 12
      Cheetahs 2 2 0 0 7 9
      Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
      Rebels 3 1 2 0 -5 6
      Highlanders 3 2 1 0 4 9
      Sharks 3 1 2 0 3 6
      View all
       
      Featured advertisers