Jaguares vs Reds: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds put in a huge defensive shift en route to their first win on foreign soil in 1082 days.

Here's what we learned from the 18-7 win.

1. Defence still the door that opens success

Teams trying to force their way out of the Super Rugby cellar have to learn to walk before they can run and the Reds have done exactly that in their first four starts.

The attack hasn't exactly been pretty so far but defence is all about buy in and coach Brad Thorn clearly has his team on the same page.The Reds swamped the Jaguares in defence. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Jaguares coughed up plenty of pill but that was largely due to the constant defensive pressure caused by the Reds, who refused to wilt under incredible strain in the second term.

The Jaguares had 71 percent possession and 80 percent territory in the second term, forcing Queensland to make a total of 159 tackles to keep the Argentinians to a solitary sixth minute try.

Fans have walked away from lacklustre Reds performances in recent years and while they're hardly playing the exhilarating rugby of the Ewen McKenzie era, defensive performances like that win plenty of good faith with frustrated fans.

2. Engine room fires

Izack Rodda, Angus Scott-Young and Caleb Timu, all under the age of 24, starred for the Reds.

Rodda made lineout life hell for the Argentinians and put his hand up for 11 carries, Scott-Young was tireless in making a team high 14 tackles to complement his eight carries and Timu was the chief source of go forward, amassing 60 metres, four tackle busts and a line break from his 10 runs.

This trio put in enormous shifts and were the driving force behind the win.

3. Home town directing

Referee Paul Williams had some home town directing to contend with. Photo: Getty ImagesReferee Paul Williams did an astute job of handling what could be best described as home town directing, with borderline Reds tackles repeatedly played on the big screen at breaks in play.

The Buenos Aires crowd howling every time there was a sniff of a high tackle prompted the TMO to repeatedly replay each and every incident, with Williams audibly frustrated at the tactic when he asked to check for a possible try on the stroke of half time.

The home broadcaster should not have an influence on the outcome of the match and Williams ensured that did not happen.

4. Finishers to the fore

All of Queensland's subs made an impact but the work of Hamish Stewart, Ben Lucas and Liam Wright was of particular note.

Stewart made a brutal match winning tackle on a Juan Manuel Leguizamon, a back rower with a 17kg weight advantage, Lucas added a cool head to a team that needed exactly that in the second half and Wright made 12 tackles in just 22 minutes.

The Reds are setting the tone early but the work of their substitutions has been just as critical to their early string of wins.

5. Australian Conference on the up

Yes, the acid test of Kiwi opponents awaits but at this point of the season, Australian sides have won 70 percent of their cross conference games.

Through the entirety of 2017, that figure sat at seven percent.

At the very least, Australia looks to have more depth than the South African Conference, which is being propped up by the Lions.