What can we take out of the Reds' loss in Pretoria?
1.Two more years...minimum
The Reds have not triumphed in Pretoria since 2001 and they once again left empty-handed. But it could be a long time before they have a chance to correct their record. With the new conference system, the Reds won’t play the Bulls again until 2018 and quite possibly not in Pretoria for even longer than that. Which, given their record, could be a blessing that’s not particularly well disguised.
2. Queensland outmuscled
Things looked positive when Chris Feauai-Sautia finished off a strong set piece with a fifth minute try but things went downhill from there. The Reds let themselves get pushed around a bit, with physicality an element of the game captain James Slipper admitted post-match went the Bulls’ way. Some poor penalties left Queensland frustrated in a lacklustre first half and the Bulls capitalised.
3. Bonus point incentive long after hooter
The Bulls showed why the newly implemented bonus point system keeps things interesting. With five tries to three at the full-time hooter, the Bulls were one try short of the point. They had a penalty, went for the corner to try and clinch a three-try advantage. Yes, they muffed the lineout and Liam Gill was able to kick the ball dead to end the game but the intent was there. And that’s what bonus points are all about.
4. Gill, Liam Gill
He’s the Reds’ breakdown king but you might as well call him 007 because Liam Gill showed off a secret weapon in a very public space on Sunday. Plenty of Queensland fans already know he can pretty much do what he wants in a rugby game. He pilfers better than almost anybody, snatches tries and even busts a few tackles. But he can’t kick for goal, right? Oh so wrong you are. A 40m drop goal just shy of half-time showed there is nothing he’s afraid of. The best part about it was the flanker’s reaction, or lack thereof. The 22-year-old will be missed in 2017.
5. Super Samu
A double for Samu Kerevi against the run of play is the kind of thing the Reds need from their star centre. Captain James Slipper asked for more consistency from Kerevi after his blinder against the Highlanders. Kerevi finished with 127 run metres, leading all comers from either side. He can only hope Michael Cheika was watching that second half, or at least flicked it on the iQ.