Reds deadlocked in wet weather slog fest

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Brad Thorn era has arrived, with the Reds slogging out a 14-all draw in an internal trial plagued by sloppy conditions at Ballymore.

While the wet weather should have curtailed any hope of an entertaining 60 minutes, there were promising signs for Thorn, his coaching staff and the diehard fans that turned out for their first taste of Reds rugby for 2018.

The defence was both organised and impactful, the ball handling was a class above what could have been expected in such conditions and there were glimpses of attacking brilliance that were rarely seen in season 2017.

This was also the first time Thorn has shown his hand for a possible best XV - team Red - which featured a handful of surprises in the form of Brandon Paenga-Amosa at hooker, Sef Faagase at tighthead prop and a Samu Kerevi-Chris Feauaia-Sautia centre pairing.All smiles for Samu Kerevi. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelIt was a relatively dour opening 20 minutes but if this Reds outfit is the defence oriented unit that Thorn desires, that wouldn't have been of major concern.

Both sides spent time camped in each other's 22 and displayed exemplary ball handling in very slippery conditions, the defence stealing the show as both sides put on hits that stunted the other team's attacking flow.

James Slipper was trucking the ball up in typically sharp fashion, Paenga-Amosa impressed in his first start at Ballymore and Adam Korczyk presented as a breakdown force.

For team White JP Smith was matching Slipper's efforts with ball in hand but it was the interplay between Moses Sorovi and Teti Tela that caught the eye.

That pair looked every bit as slick as James Tuttle and Hamish Stewart, Sorovi in particular sniping at the breakdown to create space for his forward runners either side of the breakdown.

Stewart was arguably the best player on the ground, though, controlling the attack with a sense of authority far beyond his years and scoring what looked to be the match winner with nine minutes to play.

Hamish Stewart was superb. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelKerevi and Feauaia-Sautia looked a formidable combination, intuitively offloading to each other at every possible chance and often linking up, creating several half chances.

It took 22 minutes and a Lukhan Tui offload on the opposition line to create the first points of the night, Kerevi graciously receiving the offload and diving over for one of the easiest tries he will score this year.

It was Sorovi that drew first blood in the second half, scoring in the corner to put White on level terms.

Stewart returned serve in the 51st minute, scoring from 15 out with a slashing run which saw him beat a defender with a right foot step before palming another en route to the line.

That looked to be the match winner before White worked the ball downfield and scored from a determined pick and drive to Tai Ford, Jake Strachan slotting the conversion that sealed the deadlocked result.

Post match, Thorn was "really pleased" with the start of his tenure.

"You do all this week over the preseason and now we have a start there," Thorn said.

"You saw two sides compete really hard - they're all good mates but they were cracking on in there and there were bodies on the line.

"We can learn from that and progress."


Queensland Red 14

Tries: Kerevi, Stewart

Cons: Tuttle, I Lucas


Queensland White 14

Tries: Sorovi, Ford

Cons: Jooste, Strachan