Reds' Generation Next arrive on cue

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Generation Next have arrived at the Reds and whether they win pretty doesn't bother Nick Stiles, as long as they get the job done.

That's exactly what Queensland's young core did last night, when they trailed 15-6 with 10 minutes to play.

Late game wobbles have plagued the Reds all season but they finished the match like seasoned professionals last night, a massive tick for a squad that has a distinct sense of youth to it.

"Markus Vanzati, Alex Mafi, Izack Rodda, Adam Korczyk, Bobby Tuttle, Hamish Stewart, Duncan Paia'aua, Izzy Perese, it's great to win tight games of football against good opposition with the next generation of footballer," Stiles said.

"Who cares about how it looks.Hamish Stewart scored the try that put the Reds back in the game. Photo: Getty Images"We are playing the Brumbies, who are playing finals - they're top of the conference in Australia - and I was really pleased for our guys.

"To come back from 15-6 down, we've wilted in the past against the Brumbies when we have got to those sort of situations.

"I was really pleased to see the young guys who were out on the field in the last 15 minutes."

The eight players he mentioned were all on the field as the Reds played smarter, more efficient rugby than the Brumbies to secure the win.

But it was the performance of Campbell Magnay and Taniela Tupou in the first term which caught the eye.

Tupou has served a lengthy apprenticeship since arriving at Ballymore but he has added the layers required to be a Super Rugby prop this season.

"You don't see young tightheads play that long in games and it's a good challenge for Taniela," Stiles said.

"It's good to have Sammy then coming on in the last 15 to 20 minutes to lock the scrum down because we know he can do that."

Last night's win provoked one natural question for Reds fans - what if?

Had they brought the composure they showed in the final 10 minutes last night to the matches against the Crusaders, Waratahs and Blues, they would be gearing up for a finals tilt, rather than winding down with a trip to Dunedin to face the Highlanders this week.

"You have to learn to win tight games," Stiles said.Izaia Perese starred for the Reds. Photo: Getty Images"There were enough games out there where we went really close to winning but really close isn't good enough and to see that group over the last month, it was really hard, physical, brutal training.

"You then see the rewards in those guys that understand the hard work and the rewards that we get for that hard work.

"It was a funny week this week - it's a tough week when you're playing and the season is out of reach, in terms of finals.

"I was really down with myself, to be honest.

"I had to keep my chin up around the boys but the reality is as a coach, I want to play, I want to win and I want to play finals.

"I want to do that so to get to this point and not be playing finals, it hurts."