Reds vs Sharks: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

They made tough work of it but the Queensland Reds are in the winners circle after a thriller against the Sharks tonight.

Here's what we learned.

1. Samu Kerevi hasn't missed a beat

It was Kerevi's two tries from nothing that kept the Reds' head above water while his team found their feet in attack. There was too much flash before foundations from the Reds in the first half and when they stuck to basics by giving the ball to their best attacking player, they were rewarded. Kerevi continues to show that he is deservedly in the conversation for the best centre in Super Rugby.

2. Depth may in fact be all it's cracked up to be

James Tuttle scraps his way to the line for the match winner. Photo: Getty ImagesCoach Nick Stiles was ecstatic with his team's substitutes after the match. Andrew Ready continues to push Stephen Moore for game time, Izack Rodda was a brute in contact and won a crucial lineout on the Sharks throw with 15 minutes to play and James Tuttle scored the match winner with his second touch of the ball. There had been pre-season chatter about the impact the team's depth would have on their season and it went a long way to winning them the game tonight.

3. Karmichael "hybrid" Hunt no more

Karmichael Hunt fired for the Reds tonight. Photo: Getty ImagesStiles aptly summed up Hunt in the pre-season when he called him a "hybrid" player but those days are gone. Hunt split the Sharks line with a superb line of Quade Cooper's shoulder early in the first half and did not look back from there. He was always searching for work in attack, ran great lines off Cooper and was not caught out on the defensive side of the ball.

4.TMO provokes first head scratcher

Lubabalo Mtembu's try off the back of a rolling maul provoked the first head scratching decision from the TMO's new interpretation. Referee Nick Briant did not seem certain as to whether Mtembu had grounded the ball but had to send the decision upstairs having provided an answer. Despite no vision of the ball touching turf, Mtembu was awarded a largely questionable try.

5. New Reds lineout a winner

James Slipper packs down for the Reds. Photo: Getty ImagesIt's only a small thing but the Reds' new system of calling lineouts gives opposition no chance of catching onto calls. Before every throw, the pack decide the call, walk to the mark and jump immediately. Moore overcooked a pair of throws early but outside of that, it worked a charm.