Daugunu scores five tries but sweating over red card in Reds' big win over Rebels

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Flying winger Filipo Daugunu has showed why Rugby Australia raced to notch his signature after scoring five tries in the Reds' 57-5 trial win over the Melbourne Rebels in Gladstone.

But it's a tackle late in the match that will have the Reds sweating on the reaction of the match review panel after Daugunu received a red card that may have undone his previous good work.

After a first-half hat-trick, Daugunu - who signed a four-year deal with the Reds with a Rugby Australia top-up component after he served the residency period required to become an Australian citizen - notched another double in the second period as a near full-strength Queensland outfit dominated the young Rebels.

The Reds gave credence to the hype over their 2020 season, taking a 35-0 lead to halftime and going on with it in the second term despite the Rebels adding starch to their front row to better combat the Queensland forwards.

The attention had been expected to be on the Reds' playmakers and their returning Wallabies but Daugunu stole the show - for reasons good and bad.

His efforts, which included everything from fending defenders away, making breaks flank, being on the end of neat backline plays and trailing the ball to take a neat backhand flick from Tate McDermott, had plenty of weight on the scoreboard but any were generated from the Reds' domination in the forwards.

But his night finished on a sour note when he was handed a red card for a late spear tackle that could have him in hot water.

The tackle is likely to attract the attention of the match review panel, with Daugunu likely to attract a suspension of some sort for the tackle, in which he lifted a player above the vertical before he came crashing to the ground.

Coach Brad Thorn felt it put a dampener on his winger's other efforts.

"You can have all those tries back without the tackle from my point of view," Thorn said.

"But I guess, that's your job on the end there, to put the ball down, so it's good that he did that."

Queensland started with a near full-strength team, running their three World Cup Wallabies - James O'Connor, Taniela Tupou and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - as well as two-Test forward and new captain Liam Wright in their starting XV.

Their pack strength showed at the scrum and breakdown as they dominated the young Rebels outfit, winning the opening two scrums of the match against the feed.

After Daugunu scored the match-opener, a tighthead win led to their second try, with hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa then setting up a maul which the Queensland forwards marched over the line.

Daugunu added a double after that - his tries punctuated by a five-pointer from fullback Bryce Hegarty - with Hegarty kicking five-from-five to give the Reds a 35-0 lead at the break.

Both coaches made wholesale changes at the break but it was little comfort for the Rebels, with hooker Alex Mafi driving over to score the Reds' sixth try just minutes after the restart.

But with their front row bolstered, the Rebels were able to hold their own in the forwards and finally broke their drought with a try to flanker Matt Giquel.

While they were more competitive in the second term, the Rebels were unable to hold out the Reds, who played many of their big guns for extended periods.

Tupou, Salakaia-Loto and Wright played into the second half, with Thorn keen to have his team ready to go in round one against the Brumbies in Canberra.

With Queensland boasting outstanding back row depth and Izack Rodda still recovering from off-season ankle surgery, Salakaia-Loto started at lock in a move that could be a preview to the season proper given Harry Wilson's continuing rise.

If the Reds are to have an achilles heel this season though, it could be in the halves but Isaac Lucas was solid in his first-half hitout at no.10, doing nothing to suggest he will not be the leading flyhalf candidate for round one.

O'Connor showed off his silky ballplaying skills at inside centre in the opening term, helping create Daugunu's second try and moved into flyhalf in the second period, with Hamish Stewart, who has been remodelled over the off-season as an inside centre, slotting in at 12.

Bryce Hegarty finished the match at 10, withThorn able to cast an eye over his full range of options in the position.

"It's good to have those options," Thorn said.

"You saw a touch of class from James and it was good to see young Isaac working in well there and Bryce having a little hit as well.

"We've been putting it out on the training paddock but it's good to have a hit-out. And that's all it is, it's a first trial and lots of hard work and lots of stuff in front of us to do."

The Rebels chose to rest many of their frontline players from the match, giving Western Force recruit Andrew Deegan the opportunity to start at flyhalf outside Theo Strang.

The pair toiled hard behind a pack that was clearly dominated in the first half and while Dave Wessels strengthened his front row in the second term, allowing them to compete better at the scrum, his playmakers still battled to get the field position or possession of their rivals.

RESULT

QUEENSLAND REDS 57

Tries: Daugunu 5, Paenga-Amosa, Hegarty, Mafi, Sorovi

Cons: Hegarty 6

MELBOURNE REBELS 5

Tries: Giquel

TEAMS

Reds

1 Dane Zander

2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa

3 Taniela Tupou

4 Angus Blyth

5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

6 Angus Scott-Young

7 Liam Wright

8 Harry Wilson

9 Tate McDermott

10 Isaac Lucas

11 Filipo Daugunu

12 James O'Connor

13 Hunter Paisami

14 Jock Campbell

15 Bryce Hegarty

Reserves

16 Alex Mafi

17 Dave Feao

18 Josh Nasser

19 Tuaina Tualima

20 Seru Uru

21 Moses Sorovi

22 Hamish Stewart

23 Ilaisa Droasese

24 Ryan Smith

25 Sean Farrell

26 Chris Feauai-Sautia

27 Lawson Creighton

28 Efi Ma'afu

Rebels

1 Cameron Orr

2 Declan Moore

3 Fereti Sa'aga

4 Esei Ha'angana

5 Trevor Hosea

6 Matt Gicquel

7 Mahe Vailanu

8 Pat Morrey

9 Theo Strang

10 Andrew Deegan

11 Glen Vaihu

12 Ben Hughes

13 Ben Woollett

14 Harry Potter

15 Harry Jones

Reserves

16 Mees Erasmus

17 Matt Gibbon

18 Cabous Eloff

19 Matt Wilshire

20 Gideon Koegelenberg

21 Isaac Kalea

22 James So'oialo

23 Reece Fuller

24 Jamie Glynn

25 Will Lewesi

26 Mosese Tuipulotu

27 Siaosi Asofolau