Cooper concern as Rebels win
Sat, 17 May 2014 11:39
Reds see red after eye-gouging
The Rebels beat the Reds for the first time, but the headlines will be the serious shoulder injury that forced Wallaby star Quade Cooper off the field.
Jason Woodward slotted a late penalty, after Ed O'Donoghue was red-carded for a despicable eye-gouge on an opponent, as the Rebels record a 30-27 triumph in Brisbane.
Cooper suffered a suspected serious shoulder and was taken from the field after just eight minutes, following a jolting tackle by Rebels prop Laurie Weeks and wing Tom Kingston.
The Reds playmaker - who was in a lot of pain - was treated for a left shoulder problem and then replaced, watching the rest of the game from the stands.
The injury is a worrying blow for Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie, who will sit down this coming week to name a 32-man squad for next month's three-Test series against France.
Initial reports suggested that Cooper could be sidelined for four to six weeks, which means he could miss the entire French series.
The red card will also cause some post-match debate and Reds captain Jame Horwill might also land himself in hot water for calling it a "stupid" decision in his post-match reaction.
However, he should be more concerned about the fact that his teammate even felt the need to put his hand in the eye area of an opponent. It is against the law, as simple as that, and deserves a lengthy ban.
The Rebels could not have wished for a worse start - captain Scott Higginbotham yellow-carded for charging into a player in the air, elbow first. He was lucky it was a red card.
The Reds made them pay a few minutes later, with Mike Harris getting the opening try after a patient build-up in which Quade Cooper's skill sent Harris over at the end with a well-timed pass. Cooper added the extras.
Jason Woodward kicked a penalty in the sixth minute, before the Revels showed their attacking intent - with the Rebels having effected a great turnover and then flooding forward with some pace, producing great support play as they went the length of the field where Woodward was tackled five metres short. He popped the ball off the ground to Tom Kingston, who sprinted onto the ball and scored. Woodward added the extras - 10-7.
With Quade Cooper having been forced off with a shoulder injury, Harris stepped up to slot a penalty (10-all), before the Reels got their second try.
On the half-hour mark Luke Burgess sniped around a ruck, beat a couple of defenders and stretched out in the tackle - the Woodward conversion giving the visitors a 17-10 lead.
However, right on the half-time hooter Reds prop Greg Holmes worked his way over from close range, a try set up by a sublime angled run from centre Ben Tapuai - the Harris conversion making it 17-all at the break.
Burgess bagged his second try to get the second half underway - the Rebels showing patience in the build-up, before the scrumhalf found a hole to stroll through. Again Woodward added the extras - 24-17.
With just over 10 minutes remaining replacement Ben Lucas got the Reds back on level terms - going over next to the posts after a great pass from Will Genia, the five-pointer being the reward for a patient build-up. Harris added the extras.
Woodward (70th minute) and Harris (75th minute) exchanged penalties as the game went right down to the wire.
However, the game was changed in an instant when the TMO intervened and pointed out eye-gouging by Reds replacement Ed O'Donoghue. It resulted in a red card and Woodward slotted the resulting penalty for a 30-27 lead.
The Reds had one last throw of the dice, but a turnover near the Rebels 1`0-metre line saw the visitors claim their first-ever win over the Reds.
Man of the match: Beau Robinson was involved in lots of the action, while Jamie-Jerry Taulagi did tremendous work on defence - winning a couple of crucial turnovers. Scott Higginbotham bounced back nicely form his first-minute yellow card to play an influential role and Luke Jones put his hand up again for Wallaby selection, while Jason Woodward also enhanced his reputation. However, our award goes to Rebels scrumhalf Luke Burgess, who scored two crucial tries and the Rebels felt his absence when he left the field with an injury in the final quarter of the match. As was the case in the earlier match, we also feel the need to award a Villain of the Match award - this one going to Reds replacement Ed O'Donoghue for his disgraceful eye-gouging of an opponent.
For the Reds:
Tries: Harris, Holmes, Lucas
Cons: Cooper, Harris 2
Pens: Harris 2
For the Rebels:
Tries: Kingston, Burgess 2
Cons: Woodward 3
Pens: Woodward 3
Red card: Ed O'Donoghue (Reds, 78 - foul play, eye-gouging)
Yellow card: Scott Higginbotham (Rebels, 1 - foul play, elbow shot in the face)
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Dave McDuling, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Rod Davies.
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emilie, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Telusa Veainu.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)
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