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Reds sneak home against Highlanders

Date

Reds 19 Highlanders 13

Stay back ...  Adam Thomson of the Highlanders fends off a tackle.

Stay back ... Adam Thomson of the Highlanders fends off a tackle. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper played his best game of 2012 as Queensland kept their Super Rugby title defence alive with a nail-biting 19-13 win over the Highlanders on Friday night.

MATCH STATS/AS IT HAPPENED

The Reds almost gave up a 16-point second-half lead before escaping with a penultimate-round victory with three minutes of gutsy defence on fulltime at Suncorp Stadium.

Star man ... Quade Cooper is back with a bang.

Star man ... Quade Cooper is back with a bang. Photo: Getty Images

The desperate Highlanders attacked the line over multiple phases but a string of try-saving tackles, including two by man-of-the-match Cooper, saved the day before Jake Schatz produced a ruck turnover.

Their fifth straight win moves Queensland into the top six with just their last-round match against arch-rivals NSW to come on Saturday week.

A loss would have virtually been curtains for the home side who would have dropped to eighth.

Cooper, noticeably growing in confidence in his fourth match back from knee surgery, was a stand-out to show he's back near the form which took the Reds to last year's title.

The Wallabies five-eighth regularly took on the advantage line, muscled up in defence and threw some signature spiral passes that put his teammates into space.

The goalkicking of Mike Harris, who slotted five from six, was also crucial for the Reds as they scored one try to the Highlanders' two.

Queensland looked home and hosed when prop James Slipper was rewarded for a strong display with a 57th-minute try in the right corner for a 16-3 lead.

But the Highlanders fired back with tries to Adam Thomson and Chris King off the back of concerted pressure to close the gap to six points with six minutes left.

Missed conversions cost the visitors dearly, meaning they needed a converted try at the death to win instead of a mere penalty goal, which they could have taken.

The win came at a worrying cost for the Reds as lock Rob Simmons (knee), flanker Beau Robinson (foot) and winger Chris F'Sautia (hamstring) were all injured.

It was gut-wrenching to see teenage talent F'Sautia tear his hamstring as he made one of the few line breaks of the first half off a Cooper cut-out pass.

The Australian Under-20 three-quarter has battled hamstring issues for the past three years and Queensland had believed they had solved his problems.

The previous match between the two sides resulted in a 11-try special but that was in stark contrast to a stop-start first half dominated by Jonathan Kaplan's whistle and Highlanders handling errors.

"We've got to get some clarity around the breakdown," frustrated Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said as his side led 6-3 at halftime. "It's pretty hard work there, they're counter-rucking pretty hard."

QUEENSLAND REDS 19 (James Slipper try Michael Harris con 4 pens) bt HIGHLANDERS 13 (Chris King, Adam Thomson tries Michael Delany pen) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan. Crowd: 33,899.

AAP

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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