Blues vs Reds: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds couldn't break the Australian duck against Kiwi teams tonight, falling 34-29 to the Blues.

Here's what we learned from the scintillating clash in Samoa.

1. Torrid start terribly costly

The Blues blitzed the Reds early. Photo: Getty ImagesErase the Reds' woeful start to the match and they win this one.

If only it was as simple as that.

A team of Queensland's quality can't be giving 12 point starts away and despite showing terrific fight to get back in front, they were once again beaten late.

That's three losses in the last 10 minutes of matches for the Reds this year.

It's been a year of could have, should have and would have for Nick Stiles' side and that didn't change tonight.

2. Baby Reds repay the faith

James Tuttle made a stellar return to the starting XV. Photo: Getty ImagesStiles responded to last week's poor showing against the Force with youth in the starting XV and all four young guns were among Queensland's best.

Taniela Tupou starred with ball in hand and nabbed a double, Izack Rodda bent the line with every touch, Andrew Ready made his presence felt on either side of the breakdown and James Tuttleput in a passable performance.

The halfback was the only one not to impress Stiles, as his speed to the breakdown was lacking.

Despite that, this quartet would be stiff to miss the starting XV when Super Rugby resumes and look sure fire regulars in the years to come.

3. Ticket prices deter fans

There were stacks of empty seats at Apia Stadium and this may explain why.

If this is true, questions must be asked of organisers.

How could anyone expect fans to stump up three weeks wages for a rugby match?

4. Wallabies injury woes

Samu Kerevi limped off with what looked to be a left ankle sprain in the first half and Lukhan Tui held his arm in a sling when he left the field early in the second term.

Tui was a bolter in Michael Cheika's squad but it's Kerevi who you have to feel for.

After years spent battling for the outside centre job, he looked to have made it his own this year.

With the Test against Fiji eight days away, let's hope it isn't as bad as first feared.

5. Higginbotham must start for Wallabies

If Higginbotham packed down alongside Michael Hooper next Saturday, Cheika will have one hell of an explosive backrow at his disposal.

Higginbotham looked every bit the game breaker he has been labelled this week in a first half where few Reds made their mark.

There are very few players in Australian rugby that can carry on a team on their back but Higginbotham can do just that.