Reds grind their way past Western Force for Super win

Sat, Apr 29, 2023, 11:13 AM
by AAP
The Reds and Force battle it out at Suncorp Stadium

Queensland are well on their way to Super Rugby Pacific finals after grinding out a 31-17 win against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium.

A masterful display from halfback Tate McDermott did his Wallabies credentials zero harm, finding space at will and carving the Force open to set them on course for the important victory.

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They were ahead 21-5 at halftime and looked on course for another whopping win against the Force, but skipper Liam Wright admitted they struggled to maintain their intensity through a scratchy second half.

"Probably not so good the second half, the first half was pretty nice," he told Stan Sport.

"We stuck to our gameplan a bit more, we didn't put them to the sword or anything but that's credit to the team the Force are, they really stick in there.

"They matched it physically with us ... they forced errors right on the line and we couldn't close the door, but some good creation there which is good to see."

The Reds' win takes them to sixth on the table and they're more than a game clear of ninth in the race for the top eight with five games left before finals.

McDermott, not picked in Eddie Jones' first national team training camp squad, continued strong form and created two tries for Fraser McReight in a seven-minute stretch, smartly running from two quick taps to create room for the big flanker to power over the line.

Wright said the Reds found they were getting space in the middle of the park early and decided to exploit it with halfback McDermott steering the ship.

"He had 'Suli' (winger Suliasi Vunivalu) there on his hip, just people looking for work there," he said.

"That's where we found we were getting the most pay, trying to go through them a bit.

"We were copping some solid tackles from them, but we just had to stick to the gameplan."

Queensland's pack took control in all areas and forced penalties at will, discipline again killing the Force with the competition's worst side for penalties per game conceding another 12.

The Force's rolling maul drove Michael Wells over to cut the margin back to 21-10 before Queensland's George Blake marked his Reds debut with a strong effort from close range.

Zach Kibirige opened the scoring after capitalising on a poor Jordan Petaia handling error, while he picked off a Lynagh pass and took it home minutes from time for his eighth try of the campaign.

Queensland's James O'Connor impressed at centre in the first half but was substituted at halftime due to an illness.

It wasn't the 71-20 hammering they copped at the hands of the Reds in round two, but captain Michael Wells was far from pleased with the showing.

"It's a better performance than that, but it's a very grey silver lining," he told Stan Sport.

"I'll probably have to moderate myself a little bit because it hurts, I really don't like losing, we didn't come to lose.

"Discipline probably hurt us a fair bit again, we started good, scored early points, but then they got back in the game by us giving away penalties.

"They did a job on us at scrum time, we profiled what they were going to do and we just didn't adapt."


TRIES: McReight 2, Faessler, Blake

CONS: Creighton 3/3, Lynagh 1/1

PENS: Lynagh 1/1


TRIES: Kibirge 2, Wells

CONS: Hegarty 0/2, Prior 1/1


REDS (1-15): Sef Fa'agase, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Connor Vest, Seru Uru, Liam Wright (co-c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (c), Lawson Creighton, Jock Campbell, James O'Connor, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jordan Petaia

RESERVES: Richie Asiata, George Blake, Peni Ravai, Ryan Smith, Jake Upfield, Kalani Thomas, Tom Lynagh, Filipo Daugunu

FORCE (1-15): Charlie Hancock, Tom Horton, Siosifa Amone, Felix Kalapu, Jeremy Williams, Tim Anstee, Carlo Tizzano, Michael Wells (c), Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Bryce Hegarty, Manasa Mataele, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Zach Kibirge, Chase Tiatia

RESERVES: Feleti Kaitu’u, Marley Pearce, Bo Abra, Ryan McCauley, Jackson Pugh, Gareth Simpson, Bayley Kuenzle, George Poolman

Referee: Reuben Keane

Assistant Referees: Nic Berry, Jordan Way