McKenzie still has 'good' memories
New Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie's four-year Queensland reign ended with a disastrous 38-9 Super Rugby play-off wipe-out.
New Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie's four-year Queensland reign ended with a disastrous 38-9 Super Rugby play-off wipe-out at the hands of the red-hot Crusaders in Christchurch.
However, McKenzie said he still has fond memories of the time in charge of the Brisbane-based franchise.
The Reds had no answer to the Crusaders' class and power as the home side dominated all facets of the game for a four-try rout.
Queensland had hoped to extend McKenzie's successful tenure for another week by ending a 14-year drought in Christchurch.
The Reds entered their third straight Super Rugby play-off series off a solid regular season boasting 10 wins, two draws and only four losses, but were never in the contest.
It was a disappointing result to end four years of success under Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie, who along with a number of players will farewell Queensland Rugby at the conclusion of 2013.
Also leaving are veteran forward Radike Samo (heading to Japan), Lance (to the Waratahs) and wing Luke Morahan (Western Force)
The Reds entered the game with some confidence having won all four matches against New Zealand opposition during the regular season, but four tries and 20 points to flyhalf Dan Carter was enough to see the Crusaders progress to the next round.
"We are massively disappointed. You want the big games to be your best games and unfortunately it wasn't for us," McKenzie said.
"They started well and we leaked two tries, which was hard to chase. We got back to 21-9 after half-time and I thought we may have been a chance there, but unfortunately not.
"But, my memories will be about the past four years, not about this match. A lot of good things happened during that time. There are games, like, that you would prefer not to have, but that's life in a tough competition."
Captain James Horwill said he was extremely disappointed to see their season come to a close.
"Everyone is pretty down in the sheds for a lot of reasons. It's disappointing when you don't play the way you know you can," Horwill said.
"I thought we were off the pace a little bit but they were very good. If they continue to play like that they will be a tough team to beat in this competition.
"It was very competitive at the breakdown but we knew that would be the case during the week. They were good at slowing our ball down and ensuring we didn't get any rhythm in our game.
"Right now, there are a number of guys who put the jersey on for the last time. We spoke about that, it not being the last time they would pull on the jersey, but unfortunately it is.
"And that also goes for Ewen. He is a massive part of what this team has been about for the past four years."
Reds vice-captain Will Genia said it was an incredibly disappointing way to farewell McKenzie.
"We didn't play well and that makes it even more disappointing," Genia said.
"We were just outclassed.
"The Crusaders were exceptional and they will be very hard to beat in the finals."