Reds second half blitz beats Kings

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Paging all Reds fans - your team has finally come alive.

In attack, anyway.

Queensland put on a second half show that featured a double to Izaia Perese and a commanding performance by Quade Cooper to put the Kings away, 47-34 at Suncorp Stadium.

The winning break came in the 22 minutes after half time, as the home side scored four tries to open up a 30 point lead.

They were nearly run over late as the visitors scored three tries in eight minutes through some shocking defence to make the 11,336 fans nervous but the break was too much to overcome.

Every team struggles without their chief playmaker but Queensland's attack couldn't have been more improved on the one dimensional, unimaginative showings in Cooper's three week absence.Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt were superb this afternoon. Photo: Getty ImagesCooper kicked with purpose, attacked the line to put forwards on the front foot and kick started two tries off his own boot.

Two second half tries typified the kind of form the Reds were in this afternoon.

The first, at the 58 minute mark, was a lineout move that used the entire width of the field to put Perese over for his first Super Rugby try.

A picture perfect lineout delivered clean ball to James Tuttle, who passed to Cooper before wrapping around the back and throwing a precision cutout pass which hit Karmichael Hunt square on the chest.

Hunt drew the final defender and sent Perese streaking away for a superb try.

Perese had a double three minutes later when Cooper pinched the ball off a penalty 10 metres out from his own line and sent a cross field kick the young wing's way.The Reds celebrate George Smith's try. Photo: Getty ImagesHunt caught it, drew the final defender again and once again, put Perese away from 50 metres out - the young gun showing a clean pair of heels to score.

George Smith played his best game for the Reds in his 150th Super Rugby match, securing three pilfers in the first 21 minutes and scoring a try off the back of another crisp lineout move.

Alex Mafi impressed in his starting debut, Scott Higginbotham was constantly finding himself over the advantage line and Hunt picked up where he left off - leading the Reds on both sides of the ball.

Suncorp seemed to be in a daze of sorts in the first term as the Reds controlled proceedings but struggled to build any attacking momentum.

A turnover count of 16 inside 40 minutes will do that to a team trying to sustain attacking flow.

Queensland relied on a completely dominant scrum - which forced four penalties in the first 40 minutes - and three lost Kings lineouts to ensure they kept their noses in front.The Reds controlled the set piece this afternoon. Photo: Getty ImagesEven in the six minutes prior to the first try of the match, the Reds blew a pair of golden opportunities with poor last passes.

They finally turned pressure into points through a try to Eto Nabuli but the Kings hit right back after a prolonged stretch inside the Reds 22.

A neat grubber from Yaw Penxe in behind the Reds line sparked a race for the loose ball and Chris Cloete beat two Queensland players to the ball to score.

Karmichael Hunt put the home side back in front just before the 30 minute mark with an inspired run from close range.

After several phases on the Kings line were wasted by flat footed forwards, Hunt hit top speed before catching the ball and crashed over the line to dot down.

A Duncan Paia'aua yellow card in the 38th minute did not stop the Reds as it may have in weeks gone by, as the home side scored two tries in his 10 minute absence.

It was an improved performance from Queensland but that isn't saying much given their form in previous weeks.

Their defence still needs some serious work but there are positives there that have been non existent since the heartbreaking loss to the Crusaders in round three.

RESULT

Reds 47

Tries: Nabuli 2, Hunt 2, Smith, Perese 2

Cons: Cooper 5

Pens:

Kings 34

Tries: Cloete, Schreuder, Mapimpi 2, Banda

Cons: Cronje 2, de West

Pens: Cronje

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