McKenzie pleased with historic victory

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 11:39
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The Reds recorded their first four-try bonus point victory of the season, a hoodoo-breaking 34-33 Super Rugby win over the Highlanders.

The Queensland Reds recorded their first four-try bonus point victory of the season, a hoodoo-breaking 34-33 Super Rugby win over the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

There was plenty to celebrate for Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie - from the Reds' historic four tries to three triumph, the win being Queensland's first victory in Dunedin since 1981 and also the Reds' maiden win over the Highlanders on New Zealand soil since the inception of Super Rugby in 1996.

The thrilling victory was also a fitting way to recognise a number of individual milestones - with McKenzie becoming the most capped Super Rugby coach in history with 121 games, while centre Anthony Faingaa had a standout game in his 50th game for Queensland.

Flyhalf Quade Cooper was another to produce a strong performance with his 14 points scored putting him on 501 career Super Rugby points, joining fellow playmaker Elton Flatley as the only two Reds players to surpass the 500-point mark.

The bonus point success puts the Reds in a strong position with five wins from seven Super Rugby matches this year and they will now pick up a guaranteed four competition points during next week's bye before travelling to Hamilton to take on reigning champions, the Chiefs, on April 13.

McKenzie said he was pleased that the Reds accomplished their goal of breaking their long-standing losing drought against the Highlanders in New Zealand.

"We've ticked off another important milestone and it was the one we were chasing," McKenzie said.

"To also come away with a bonus point is fantastic," the coach added.

"In previous games we've been creating plenty of opportunities but not finishing them off. Our finishing improved and we got a reward for our attack.

"Coming into this game we had five guys pull out through injury on what was already a shortened week after the Bulls game, so to recover and get a result was very pleasing.

"It was a tight game, but also a good game of rugby from both teams. The referee did a good job of keeping the game going and it led to plenty of attack and end-to-end Rugby.

"Going into the bye you would obviously love to be undefeated but that's rare in this competition. We are pretty pleased with our work to date and five wins from seven games has given us a good platform to work from.

"We know we can still improve, so we'll just keep hanging in there and continue to work hard."

The Reds, who remain undefeated against New Zealand opposition in 2013, secured their first four-try bonus point of the season courtesy of tries to James Hanson, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz and Will Genia.

Captain James Horwill continued his comeback from injury with a dominant 63 minute effort and Genia got through his first 80 minutes of Rugby this year, while prop Ben Daley and wing Rod Davies put frustrating injury layoffs behind them to see their first action in the Reds jersey in 2013.

Following a bye next week and then the Chiefs match in Hamilton in Week Nine, the Reds return to Brisbane on April 20 for a blockbuster Australian Conference match-up against the Brumbies.

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19