The Reds were within snatching distance of a memorable win at Newlands Stadium before being bulldozed late in the second half by the Stormers, but what did we learn?
1. Reds gave it a real shake
Queensland were given no chance going into this one with bookmakers installing the Stormers as strong $1.10 favourites. Someone forget to tell James Slipper & co. though, as they stunned the crowd in Cape Town and nearly stole a famous victory after an inspired 20 minute stint following the half time break. The last twenty minutes though was one to forget..
2. Knock off after an hour
At the 60 minute mark it looked as if the Reds might do the unthinkable but the Stormers took it to a new level in the last twenty minutes, showing their class at home. Queensland coughed up the ball 17 times against the Stormers and bad weather can’t be an excuse with the sun shining in Cape Town. The Reds fly home to Brisbane with two tough losses, and a few things to work on ahead of their clash with the Cheetahs at Suncorp Stadium.
3. Make your kicks count
It was in that last twenty minutes that Jake McIntyre had the chance to re-take the lead but sprayed a penalty from 40 metres out and the Stormers didn’t show any mercy. They were 100% with the kicking tee at Newlands Stadium while McIntyre missed two crucial kicks at important times.
4. Some backline signs
Chris Feauai-Sautia was a late scratching ahead of kickoff, ruled out with an ankle injury meaning Junior Laloifi was rushed straight into the starting side. While Laloifi struggled at times, his fellow winger Eto Nabuli starred down the left edge and Karmichael Hunt continues to grow at fullback. Hunt and Nabuli both nabbed their first Super Rugby tries while Nabuli was second only to Samu Kerevi in running metres as well as defenders beaten for the Reds.
5. All eyes on Gill and Kerevi
Michael Cheika has been keeping a close watch on Liam Gill and Samu Kerevi, but seemingly so are opposition coaches. Kerevi was squeezed for space everytime he touched the ball while Liam Gill was targeted at the Stomers’ attacking breakdowns. It’s not to say that Kerevi and Gill didn’t have an impact though, with the big centre leading the Reds for run metres while Gill snaflled two pilfers, made 15 tackles and grabbed a try.