Reds learn from their mistakes in Melbourne

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

It took two heartbreaking losses and a season full of despair but the Reds have learned how to win tight games of rugby.

That's what Nick Stiles got out of last night's 29-24 bonus point win against the Rebels - their first away win in 756 days.

"If you want to go anywhere in any competition in the world you have to have that ability to win away from home and the other thing for us, that we haven't done in a long time is a beat an Australian side," Stiles said.

"So to come down here and do both of those things is something we are really pleased with.

"Could we have been better? Of course we could have.Nick Stiles was a happy coach post match. Photo: Getty Images"But even when the score became deadlocked the boys kept their composure, built pressure and then were able to score the match winner by the captain.

"There was probably four times through that game where the Rebels were on our line and whether it was set piece or in phase play, they were really threatening.

"The boys stay composed and worked for each other.

"What I'm probably pleased the most about is that we saw that effort."

The Reds have blown two wins in similar situations this year.

They should have beaten the undefeated Crusaders - a dubious Mitch Hunt penalty goal after the siren the deciding factor - and they crumbled after shooting out to a lead against the Waratahs.

But there were differences in the way they approached last night's do-or-die situation.

Their defensive effort was one of a desperate team and that shined through in the numbers.

They only missed 19 of 133 attempted tackles - an 86 percent completion rate well up from their 80 percent average.

There was also more composure from halves Nick Frisby and Quade Cooper, who were streets better than their Rebels counterparts.

"I thought he was dangerous - he played a pretty balanced game, to be honest," Stiles said of Frisby's return to the starting halfback job.

"We just wanted him to get out there and just get to the base of the ruck and distribute quickly and allow our backs and pods of three forwards to carry hard.

"If Higgers catches that ball - which everyone in this room could have done - he would have (set up) the match winner himself.

"It's something for him to build on but he also has to understand that his improvement today has been on the back of some very disciplined work he has done at training and away from the field."

Queensland's bench has been a sore point all season and it was markedly better as well.

They now have the bye before hosting the Force at Suncorp Stadium on Friday week.