A pair of dubious yellow cards by referee Mike Fraser have triggered a fourth consecutive Reds loss, as they fell 22-8 to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
A trigger happy Fraser reduced the Reds to 13-men inside one minute when he showed cards to Eto Nabuli and Kane Douglas with 19 minutes on the clock.
Nabuli was clearly trying to make a cover tackle when a ball deflected off his arm and was knocked on but Fraser deemed the move to be intentional and sent him to the bin.The subsequent rolling maul was illegally collapsed by Douglas and without any warning, Fraser again reached for the pocket and sent him to the bin.
The visitors were struggling defensively when it was 15-on-15, let alone with two men in the bin, and the Jaguares scored two tries in the ensuing 10 minutes as gaps in the Reds defensive line turned into crevices.
Nice way to ruin a game.. 👏🏾👏🏾 #SMH— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) March 25, 2017
The first five pointer came two minutes after the pair were sent to the bin, Jeronimo De La Fuente running a nice unders line off the back of a big scrum to scoot past Duncan Paia'aua and reach out to score.
Ramiro Moyano, who was the hat trick hero in the Jaguares' 41-14 win last week, showed some super footwork seven minutes later to duke his way around Paia'aua, Sam Talakai and James Tuttle before beating Karmichael Hunt in a 50 metre foot race to the try line.
While the refereeing was well below par, the Reds are yet to address some glaring weaknesses in their game and could hardly put the blame squarely on Fraser's shoulders.They missed 14 tackles in the first half and seemed incapable of bringing down Jaguares backs that were on the end of Tuttle's box kicks.
Their attack was far too lateral, Jake McIntyre often taking his first steps across field rather than attacking the line to engage defenders.
The defensive woes were again on show at the start of the second term, De La Fuente scoring his second try of the day through some pitiful defence.The inside centre ran a strong, straight line off the back of a maul from 20 metres out and was nearly untouched as he split McIntyre and Paia'aua to score at the 49 minute mark.
Scott Higginbotham scored the Reds' first try of the day 10 minutes later, the visitors rewarded for their first meaningful string of phases in the Jaguares 22.
Bautista Ezcurra was sent to the sin bin for an offence marginally worse than Nabuli's with 63 minutes gone but the Reds could not capitalise.
That was the story of the night, as the visitors controlled 67 percent possession - 77 percent in the second half - for just one try and a penalty.
Queensland is now 1-4 and with the Hurricanes waiting for them upon their return to Brisbane, any chance of playing finals football in 2017 looks to have slipped away.Reds skipper Stephen Moore was philosophical after the match: "We didn't win either of our games on the trip which is disappointing but we have a lot of young players that are over here for the first time. Hopefully they learn a bit about what it's like to play here and we can be better for that."
Tries: De La Fuente 2, Moyano
Cons: Hernandez 2