Reds vs Crusaders: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds' loss to the Crusaders was a heartbreaker at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Here are five things we learned.

1. Crusaders are comeback kings

Mitchell Hunt was cool in kicking the match winner. Photo: Getty ImagesFor the second consecutive week, the Crusaders managed to win a Super Rugby match no other team could have possibly won. On the road, trailing 20-7 with 17 minutes to play and a man in the sin bin for the final 10 minutes, the visitors did the impossible. A miraculous win.

2. Perese the real deal

Izaia Perese starred in his run-on debut. The 19-year-old carried through his schoolboy, club and NRC form with continuous signs of power, speed and thirst for contact. A star in the making.

3. Tui terrific in return

Adam Korczyk kept Tui out of the starting XV in their first two starts but he will struggle to get back in based on Tui's form tonight. He carried over the gain line with every touch and made a pair of crucial tackles to keep the Reds in front throughout the match. He does not have the breakdown skills of Korczyk but he more than makes up for that with his impact in attack.

4. Reds yet to nail it between the ears

Nick Stiles said post match the Reds will take plenty of positives from the result. Photo: Getty ImagesIt's that simple for Queensland. They could easily be 3-0 after the agonising loss to the Force last week and the Crusaders tonight, had it not been for poor decision making late in both games. Coach Nick Stiles was not disappointed with his team's performance post match. He did make it clear, though, that it was not the right move to try and drain the clock with the ball in their own half and two minutes left on the clock. The same could be said about the way the Reds handled several late-game decisions in Perth last week.

5. Injury toll will tell on Crusaders

The Crusaders bench was full at half-time. Photo: Getty ImagesThe win keeps the Crusaders in the hunt for the prize at the top of the New Zealand Conference but the injury toll could seriously hurt their chances of scaling the Super Rugby mountain. Coach Scott Robertson said post match he did not know the severity of the respective injuries but Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu and Pete Samu all cut forlorn figures on the Crusaders bench after trotting off in the first half.