Kerevi in doubt for Wallabies as Stiles rues woeful start

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Nick Stiles lauded the performances of some but was filthy with how his team blew the start and subsequently fell to the Blues late in Apia.

The 34-29 loss told the story of Queensland's season.

There were patches which showed how good this team can be but the first 10 minutes were equivalent to a horse missing the start by six lengths.

Hendrik Tui had the ball stripped from the very first ruck and Rene Ranger scored three minutes later.

The Blues were in again with seven minutes on the clock, a try filled with lazy Queensland defensive work.


Stiles isn't one to endorse close losses but he said the turnaround from that point forward was encouraging.

"To have that start and then to lose Samu, at that point in time it became a test of character," he told RUGBY.com.au.

"We could either roll over and lose by 60 or we could fight our way back into it and show that there is something about this group.

"That was a point of no return.

"We are here to win football games and to build a culture that knows how to win football games but the way our forwards stood up and took it on was really pleasing."Nick Stiles spoke highly of his young guns post match. Photo: Getty ImagesThe forward pack was a glimpse into Generation Next.

Taniela Tupou and Andrew Ready were superb in their second starts of 2017 and the second row of Izack Rodda and Lukhan Tui will be the way forward in 2018.

"The performances of those guys, plus what we saw from Higgers, you can see the difference in the team when we have the tight five getting the ball and getting over the gain line.

"The momentum we got from them got us back in the game."

Stiles was less impressed with James Tuttle's return to the starting XV, citing his lack of urgency in getting to the breakdown.

Quade Cooper was very poor for the second straight week and he needs to return to his best if the Reds are to finish the season on a high.Scott Higginbotham was Queensland's best. Photo: Getty ImagesConversely, Scott Higginbotham capped a return to the Wallabies squad with a brilliant performance.

"Higgers was really good," Stiles said.

"I'm just so pleased for him.

"There are things that we spoke about before he even got here and things that that we really wanted him to work on and he's done that.Izack Rodda impressed Stiles. Photo: Getty Images"To come through that controversy at the start of the year, keep his head down and now get the reward with the Wallabies - I'm really happy for him."

On the injury front, Samu Kerevi appears to have suffered a syndesmosis left ankle injury which will put him in serious doubt for the June Tests.

Medical staff are hopeful it is only a grade one but even that would rule him out for two to four weeks.

He's not expected to need surgery but will have scans tomorrow.

Fellow Wallabies squad member Lukhan Tui has a shoulder complaint that isn't thought to be as serious, with Stiles pulling him in the second half as a precaution.

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