Victorious Reds 'building slowly'

Fri, 08 Mar 2013 13:30
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The Queensland Reds recorded their third straight Super Rugby triumph, with a dominant 23-13 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

The Queensland Reds recorded their third straight Super Rugby triumph, with a dominant 23-13 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

The result pleased Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie, who said his team is building some nice momentum at present.

Tries to Ben Tapuai and Nick Frisby, along with 13 points through the boot of flyhalf Quade Cooper, was enough to keep Queensland's unbeaten record against the Rebels intact - with the win the Reds' fifth straight over the Melbourne side since they joined the competition in 2011.

It's also the third straight win for the Reds in the 2013 Super Rugby competition and a major boost ahead of next Saturday's return to Suncorp Stadium, where the Reds will tackle another Australian Conference rival in the Western Force.

The Reds produced a clinical second half to outscore the Rebels 13-0 - after going into the sheds at half-time trailing 10-13 despite enjoying all the momentum and a decisive 62 percent possession advantage throughout the opening 40 minutes.

The second half defensive shutout was impressive, but the Reds will rue a number of wasted attacking opportunities which saw them miss out on a four-try bonus point - with the Reds twice dropping the ball over the tryline for what would have been two certain tries.

McKenzie said he was pleased to be winning, while the Reds continued to build into the season.

"We tried to play a lot and we played with a bit better discipline, but in the end we continued to be penalised in attack and in defence," the Reds boss said.

"That made it very hard to keep the pressure on and the Rebels don't go away," McKenzie said.

"We are building slowly, not setting the world on fire but we aren't running last either, so we'll just keep at it.

"We continue to find other players to step up in the absence of some of our experienced players and I thought guys like Nick Frisby, who was playing in his first start, went really well.

"We've had six or seven players injured from our Grand Final side so we've had to give other guys a go.

"You've got to have that depth and have guys coming through.

"That allows you to manage your playing stocks with injuries and you can always go to someone else.  

"But, our experienced guys will come back and that will give us a boost."

Frisby was a standout in his first starting opportunity and was equally as impressive as flyer Digby Ioane who again led the Reds in total runs, metres gained and line-breaks.

Captain James Slipper was impactful in defence and at the set piece while flank Liam Gill highlighted his all-round Rugby ability with a strong game carrying the ball.

Slipper credited the Reds for the character they showed in holding the Rebels scoreless in the second half.

"We still haven't put in an 80 minute performance and we are disappointed with that," Slipper said.

"But, you can't take anything away from the character of this team.

"Defence sets the tone of the match and defence is about character.

"We have plenty of it.

"Our scrambling defence on our own line is second to none.  Premierships are built on that."

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
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Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
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Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9