Reds roll over against Blues in Kaino farewell

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

In a week where the officiating surrounding the Israel Folau suspension has taken centre stage, refereeing has again become the focal point as the Reds fell to the Blues at Eden Park.

Queensland were never a sniff after the game was turned on its head by referee Egon Seconds and TMO Ben Skeen in the 23rd and 25th minute - Jordan Petaia and Taniela Tupou shown cards for a lifting and no shoulder tackle, respectively.

By the book both cards could be justified but they would have enraged fans given the special treatment provided to Jerome Kaino in his farewell at Eden Park.

He escaped punishment for two tackles in the first half which will no doubt come under the microscope of the citing commissioner.

The first - a no arms cleanout on Scott Higginbotham in the opening minutes - was replayed on the Sky Sports host broadcast and on the big screen at Eden Park but Skeen declined to intervene.

The second - a high shot on Hamish Stewart - followed cards to Petaia and Tupou which must have had Reds fans baying for blood.It was all Auckland on Friday. Photo: Getty ImagesBy the letter of the law Petaia's lifting tackle in the 22nd minute was worthy of a card as he did cross the horizontal plane - even if there was very little force involved - but Tupou can consider himself very stiff as he did try to use his arms.

Those two cards came within two minutes of each other after the two sides had traded penalties in the opening quarter and in the ten minutes that followed, Rieko Ioane and Matt Moulds crossed to open up a 21-6 half time lead.

The only consistency with the officiating was the inconsistency and that shone through in the 15 minutes after half tine, a high shot from Caleb Timu going unnoticed just two minutes before flyhalf Stephen Perofeta dived over, all but putting the game to bed.

The Blues then had two men - Matiaha Martin and Sione Mafileo - sent to the sin bin in the 62nd and 67th minute, respectively, one for repeat offences and the other the victim of a Blues scrum which conceded nine total penalties.

The Reds could only manage an Alex Mafi rolling maul try in the time that pair were in the bin, woeful ball handling their achilles heel.Moses Sorovi wasn't at his best. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile the officiating was at its dastardly worst, Queensland weren't much better.

The nine scrummaging penalties were the only shining light on a slippery night at Eden Park where missed tackles, poor handling and ineffective cleanouts hampered any threat they posed to the Blues line.

Lukhan Tui carried hard, hit with purpose and threw the final pass for Duncan Paiaaua's try and Tupou again dominated at scrum time but outside of that, a few handy Caleb Timu carries represented the only noteworthy individual performances.

While they have blooded a stack of young talent this season, one has to ask whether Queensland are in a better shape now than they were this time last year.

A loss of this magnitude to the hapless Blues suggests they are not.

RESULTS

Blues 39

Tries: Nanai, Ioane, Moulds, Perofeta, Clarke

Cons: Perofeta

Pens: Perofeta 3, Gatland

Reds 16

Tries: Paiaaua, Mafi

Cons: 

Pens: Lance 2