Reds come from behind to edge Sharks

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:30

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Reds got their 2017 season off to a winning start, coming from behind for a 28-26 squeaker against the Sharks.

Despite outscoring the visitors by for tries to two, the Reds trailed till the 70th minute - a James Tuttle try sealing the win.

The Reds trailed 18-26 with 17 minutes left - before centre Samu Kerevi and Tuttle scored tries.

However, they had a nerve-wrecking final 10 minutes and Sharks captain Patrick Lambie could have won in the 77th minute. However, despite having succeeded with all his attempts at goal up to that stage, Lambie pushed the pressure kick wide.

It was a big tonic for the Reds, who won just three games last season but have significantly bolstered their squad with the signings of Wallabies Quade Cooper, Stephen Moore, George Smith and Scott Higginbotham.

Queensland's win was even more merited with two players, Kane Douglas and Karmichael Hunt, both sin-binned during the second half leaving their team a man down at vital stages of the game.

"We showed a lot of character tonight and that's what good sides build on, so hopefully that means something," Reds skipper James Slipper said.

"We had two yellow cards and we defended really well, I'm just glad we got the win and especially back here at Suncorp Stadium."

For a time it looked as though the Sharks, seeking their fifth victory in Brisbane, would go on and win after leading 16-13 at half-time and with Lambie in exceptional goal- kicking touch.

When Lubabalo Mtembu scored off a driving maul the Sharks led 26-18 on the hour before the Reds launched their comeback to claim victory.

"We hung on for a long time, we had a chance to win at the end but we just weren't good enough to get over the line," Lambie said.

"Our fitness levels were good, but more importantly we didn't execute well today and we put ourselves under a lot of pressure.

"We had to make more tackles than we would have liked and a few too many penalties, our discipline wasn't good."

Playmaker Cooper had a mixed match for the Reds, whose handling mistake led to Jean-Luc du Preez's opening try in just the second minute and landed just three-from-six with his goal- kicking.

The Reds cross the country to play the Western Force in Perth next week, while the Sharks stay in Australia to face the Brumbies in Canberra.

Man of the match: Samu Kerevi certainly tested the Sharks defence in a game of few highlights. However, veteran flank George Smith showed the value of his experience and despite a few mistakes wins our award.

The scorers:

For the Reds:
Tries: 
Higginbotham, Kerevi, Nabuli, Tuttle
Con: Cooper
Pens: Cooper 2

For the Sharks:
Tries: 
Du Preez, Mtembu
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Lambie 4

Yellow card: Kane Douglas (Reds. 56 - foul play, neck choke), Karmichael Hunt (Reds, 76 - foul play, swinging arm)

Teams:

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Izaia Perese.

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Clement Poitrenaud.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

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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