Five Things We Learned: Hurricanes v Reds

Fri, 11/06/2021, 09:55 am
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
Tate McDermott was a standout for the Reds in Wellington | Getty Images

It was a far closer contest than the score indicated for one thing, certainly at 17-14 with 25 minutes to play.

Games run 80 minutes and the Hurricanes finished far stronger with that late 10-minute burst against 14 men to beat the Queenslanders 43-14.

So what did we learn?

1 TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T PREVENT RUBBISH CALLS

The yellow card call on Bryce Hegarty was ridiculous. The scenario was simple...Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape and Reds flyhalf Hegarty both running and diving full length to score or thwart a try.

The ball was nearly 30cm off the ground too when it was dubiously judged that Hegarty deliberately tried to swat it over the deadball line. Laumape was not even certain to score.

Play on.

It certainly didn’t warrant a triple penalty which was the effect of a penalty try, no conversion from the sideline and a Hegarty yellow card.

We should be relaxed that referee James Doleman has control of the second Test between the Wallabies and France next month in Melbourne.

Not.

Bryce Hegarty saw yellow as the Hurricanes have been awarded a penalty try

2 TATE McDERMOTT

James O’Connor missing the last two Reds’ games has meant Tate McDermott taking charge far more in the game plan.

Modern sides can play of No.10 or No.9. For much of the season, McDermott was happy to spin the ball to O’Connor so he ran the show with quick shifts to the edges.

The Reds have run their attack off halfback for the past two games and McDermott has excelled. He's shown Wallabies boss Dave Rennie what he is capable of.

On Friday night, McDermott racked up nine runs for 80m, beat seven defenders himself, dished four off-loads, scored a try and generally buzzed around all the good things the Reds did.

His delayed ball to send Harry Wilson careering into space was superb.

3 HARRY WILSON

Super Rugby Trans-Tasman has allowed Harry Wilson to show all the different shades to his game at No.8 because he was employed as battering-ram Harry for much of Super Rugby AU.

He made 14 runs for 78m as well as nine tackles. He's racking up line breaks again too. The bigger insights were his classy touches like peeling off a scrum to the short side and perfectly positioning McDermott for a long run.

Equally, his quick scoop ball off the turf at the back of a Reds’ 5m scrum win gave McDermott a split-second more to turn the chance into a try.

He has a few more dimensions than ACT Brumbies No.8 Rob Valetini but the beauty is Rennie can select both standouts.

Tate McDermott makes easy work of the Canes defence

4 FAREWELLS

Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape is a beast and that blast through poor defence to score the opening try was just the treasured moment he wanted in his last game for the side before linking with French club Stade Francais.

Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa scored his own sign-off try before he joins French club Montpellier.

It will be interesting to see if Rennie uses him against France next month.

It will be hard to ignore BPA’s excellent scrummaging and he was Rennie’s first-choice hooker last year in five Tests.

5 DEFENCE

Playing the second half with 14 men for 20 minutes is a mitigating circumstance but 47 missed tackles, by one count, is way too many for a Queensland outfit that prides itself on defence.

The Reds played some of their best rugby in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman in this game but some defensive weaknesses tripped them up, even though there was great scrambling at other times.

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