Chiefs vs Reds: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds were smashed by the Chiefs tonight.

Here's what we learned from the 46-17 loss.

1. All talk, no action

An upset win would have kept Queensland's season alive tonight.

They rolled over in the second half - as they have so many times this season - and are subsequently dead and buried.

A derby with the Rebels awaits next week but there is little chance a team this inconsistent can make up a two game margin the Brumbies (and potentially Waratahs) have opened up.

There is talk out of Ballymore every week about the need to play 80 minutes and the Reds are yet to do that once this year.

2. Concern for Cooper

Quade Cooper is carrying niggles that are hindering his game. Photo: Getty ImagesThere is no question that the Reds are markedly better with Quade Cooper in the starting XV but he has struggled in the last fortnight.

Bernard Foley's boot was the difference in the loss to the Waratahs and Cooper's kicking game - both off the tee and in general play - is not near its best at present.

The general play kicks are popgun shots at best and he has been wayward off the tee since returning from suspension.

He's carrying a couple of niggles and unfortunately that is starting to show.

3. Tackling woes continue

Nick Stiles did not miss when asked the cause of his team's defensive woes post match.

He honed in on first up tackles as a continuous issue.

The Reds put together some solid defensive sets in the second half but one poor, high tackle is all it takes to undo several phases of good work.

Cooper's miss on James Lowe for the last try of the night was a perfect example.

4. Reds remarkably different away from Brisbane

The Reds have been smashed away from Brisbane this year. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Reds that run out at Suncorp Stadium are a completely different team to the one that ran out at Yarrow Stadium tonight.

At home this year they've beaten the Sharks, lost after the siren to the Crusaders, hung with the Hurricanes, beat the Kings and lost a heartbreaker to the Waratahs.

Compare that to a loss to the Force in Perth, a belting at the hands of the Lions in Johannesburg, a loss to the Jaguares in Argentina, a beating by the Brumbies in Canberra and tonight's capitulation and you have a team that has figured out how to be competitive at home but not away.

5. Simmons stronger in loss

He wasn't exceptional but Rob Simmons had one of his best games of the year tonight.

He hit hard in defence, orchestrated the lineout well and ran with more intent than usual.

Great to see him back in top form.