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Queensland Reds thrashed by Blues in Auckland

Date

Jim Morton

Blues 44 Reds 14

Flattened: Quade Cooper and the Reds were given a torrid time by the Blues in Auckland.

Flattened: Quade Cooper and the Reds were given a torrid time by the Blues in Auckland.

Richard Graham's first season guiding Queensland has spiralled out of control in an Eden Park mess with the Reds thumped 44-14 by the Blues.

On Friday night, Graham's side slumped to their fourth straight defeat as they were outskilled and outpaced in a continued transformation from Super Rugby contenders to cellar-dwellers.

On the basis of their first 52 minutes, the Reds have also gone from one of the smartest teams under Ewen McKenzie to one that is its own worst enemy by playing some dumb rugby.

Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds is tackled by Jerome Kaino of the Blues.

Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds is tackled by Jerome Kaino of the Blues. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
BLU
Score
44
Team
RED
Score
14
Blues versus Reds
View Match Statistics
Players Willison (30min), Visinia (38min), Hall (42min), Donnelly (50min), West (78min) Tries 5 Tries 2 Players Daley (53min), Horwill (64min)
Players Hickey 4/4 (100%), West 1/1 (100%) Conversions 5 Conversions 2 Players Cooper 2/2 (100%)
Players Hickey 3/3 (100%) Penalty goals 3 Penalty goals 0 Players Cooper 0/2 (0%)
Players Drop goals 0 Drop goals 0 Players

Inspired by a sparkling display by All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu, the Blues shot to 34-0 early in the second half before prop Tony Woodcock was sin-binned in the five-tries-to-two hammering.

It made for a horror New Zealand trip - two forgettable losses to 'celebrate' 100-match milestones of loyal Queensland servants.

While captain James Horwill's ton was ruined by the Hurricanes (35-21) in Wellington, Quade Cooper's winless record at Eden Park continued in his 100th in Auckland.

Overcoming an ankle injury to play in his halves partner's milestone match, Will Genia was a stand-out for the Reds in attack and defence but few others impressed until a late second-half rally.

The Blues snapped their four-game drought against the Reds with a vibrant opening where the powerful Nonu showed the added skill and precision to his game by smartly setting up two tries off scrums for a 20-0 halftime lead.

Nonu ended any hopes of a comeback immediately after the break by bursting past Horwill and Saia Fainga'a to send halfback Bryn Hall over.

It was the Aucklanders' second try while Reds prop James Slipper sat in the sin-bin for a mindless lifting tackle on Peter Saili.

They had their four-try bonus point by the 51st minute to keep an unbeaten 2014 home record intact and jump into the provisional top six.

Luck might not have been on the Reds' side as the television match official denied tries by returning flanker Liam Gill and hard-working No.8 Jake Schatz, but they were again their own worst enemies with errors and penalties.

Their scrum was demolished early and they too often went wide before forward in attack in the first half.

With Cooper and the backs comprehensively shut down, Queensland resorted to keeping it tight in the second half which resulted in bustling tries to forwards Ben Daley and Horwill.

AAP

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