UPDATE: Reds coach Brad Thorn says he is not fazed by Queensland slumping to a third consecutive loss to start the season, confident his team can build into the year after getting their South Africa-Argentina trip out of the way.
The Reds led into the final quarter of their clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning on the back of some scintillating play Thorn believes can still have them in finals contention.
But a dubious scrum penalty, followed by a the sin binning of captain Liam Wright snuffed out their winning chances and the home side went on to notch a 43-27 victory after scoring three tries with Wright off the field.
Despite being "gutted" after the match, Thorn has not lost faith in his team.
"I'm not fazed. We've got a few bonus points there," Thorn said of points picked up in losses to the Brumbies and Lions in the opening two rounds.
"Getting a win out of either one of South Africa or Argentina would have been perfect. Unfortunately we haven't done that but there are plenty of positives to take out of it.
"The hardest part is that big trip and it's done now and there's 13 rounds to apply ourselves and to get better and to grow our game and be positive."
The Reds were their own worst enemies at times in the opening fortnight but Thorn liked what he saw against last year's Super Rugby finalists in Argentina.
"Every game there's been times we've led the games and probably the first two games we were our own worst enemies with our own errors and let the other teams have opportunities," he said.
"Tonight I thought the guys played really well and there was a lot to like.
"We just want to keep improving and keep getting better.
"Last year we dropped our first three as well and by mid-season we were equal with the Rebels at the top of the conference."
The Reds were desperate to salvage something from their three-match road trip and started accordingly, playing with enormous intensity and building a 14-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
The Jaguares hit back but the Reds still held the upper hand at the break and heading into the final quarter before the turning point, when referee Federico Anselmi showed Wright a yellow card in the 62nd minute.
The Reds were on the wrong end of a 14-3 penalty count in the match, but failed to adjust to Anselmi's interpretations and constant warnings that they were on thin ice and Wright suffered the brunt despite seemingly being in position to pilfer when he was penalised and sin binned.
Queensland led 27-22 when he left but were unable to deal with the Jaguares' outstanding maul, the Argentinians scoring two tries in five minutes through their rampaging pack, with Tomas Cubelli's try in the 70th minute icing the game.
Wright said after getting no reward from their primary sources of go-forward in the scrum and lineout, the Reds made too many errors which the Jaguares capitalised on.
"Obviously our maul defence was poor, it let in plenty of tries, so that's something we've got to go back to," Wright said.
"I was really proud of our defence in that first half and if we can put together two halves like that and play like that for 80 minutes, there's no stopping us.
"We've just got to put together two halves."
Until then, the Reds had looked as though they might cause an upset.
After having chances in their opening two games but letting both the Brumbies and Lions off the hook, the Reds were desperate from the start.
It paid off too, with James O'Connor creating a try for Tate McDermott with a neat dummy and pass around the corner to the scrumhalf beating the Jaguares' defence.
The Reds have at times been guilty of releasing the pressure when in front but they kept pushing in attack, probing the short side and creating chances.
Henry Speight was dragged into touch in one such raid but the Reds stayed with their plans and created another opportunity soon after, with Jock Campbell putting Speight into a gap and the winger slipping a neat ball to Liam Wright on his inside, with the skipper racing over to score.
Discipline had been strong for the Reds in the opening quarter but when they handed the Jaguares a penalty through a high tackle from Chris Feauai-Sautia and another penalty straight afterwards, the home side played to their strength, setting up a maul and pushing over, with hooker Julian Montoya planting the ball in the corner.
But the Reds refused to go back into their shells.
The Reds scrum has been impressive in the opening two rounds and it delivered again in Buenos Aires, setting up a third try when Taniela Tupou created space for his outside men with big winger Feauai-Sautia touching down out wide.
An injury to Jordan Petaia had been expected to be a huge blow to the Reds but Hunter Paisami made the most of his chance in the no.13 jersey, his break setting up a second try for Feauai-Sautia, who crossed following some great vision and an outstanding pass from McDermott from the breakdown.
Again the Reds' discipline cost them though, with winger Emiliano Boffelli scoring well after the halftime hooter following several consecutive penalties to the home side.
Boffelli won the contest in the air, juggling the ball before touching down, with the Reds on thin ice after warnings from referee Federico Anselmi.
They were on shaky ground straight away in the second term, conceding a penalty and allowing the Jaguares a maul which charged over, giving Montoya a second try just two minutes after the break.
In contrast to their barnstorming start, the Reds were on the back foot in the opening minutes of the second half, making errors and conceding penalties.
The Jaguares gladly accepted the three points from one of those, with Miotti clawing the Reds' margin back to just two points.
The Reds stretched it back out to five with a penalty of their own and continued to attack the Jaguares, winning a scrum and threatening to push over before they made the most of untidy ball with James O'Connor reaching out, only to have the ball knocked from his hands inches from the tryline.
The inability to convert proved costly for the Reds and the run of penalties against them eventually told.
Wright was yellow carded despite seemingly being in position to pilfer in the ruck, with a possible turnover becoming a man down for the Reds.
The Jaguares pounced, scoring two tries from their maul in the next six minutes, before Tomas Cubelli raced over in the 70th minute to snuff out any chance of a Reds fightback.
Tries: Montoya 3, Boffelli, Socino, Cubelli
Cons: Miotti 4, Albornoz
Tries: McDermott, Wright, Feauai-Sautia 2
Cons: Campbell 2