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Reds survive late scare to get first Trans-Tasman win

Sat, 29/05/2021, 8:45 am
AAP
by AAP
The Reds host the Chiefs in the first Super Rugby match in Townsville since 2006.

Queensland have registered their first win of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, beating an undermanned Waikato Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville.

The Reds became the first Australian team to beat Kiwi opposition this year in the 14th match between the rivals on Saturday.

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While pleased with the final result, Reds' coach Brad Thorn was disappointed in his side's second-half effort, and in particular the way the Chiefs were allowed back into the contest.

"I felt the guys who started the game got a heck of a job done today. They played some good footy, but I wasn't happy with my finishers tonight," Thorn said.

McKenzie sees red.

"Their job is to come on and add. Just body language and where they were at wasn't (there)."

The talking point was a red card shown to Chiefs star flyhalf Damien McKenzie in the first half, after a high shot on Tate McDermott.

McKenzie collected McDermott across the chin after he put Isaac Henry through a hole to score from 40 metres out.

The tackle was reviewed by the television match official and McKenzie's clear shoulder contact to the chin gave referee Nic Berry no choice but to send him off. 

Thorn made of a note of his side's execution when playing a man up and had high praise for his young centre Henry, who scored two tries in his starting debut for the Reds. 

"I thought he was outstanding tonight, he was strong, he's been around the scene and he's played with Hunter (Paisami) at Wests.

"He got an opportunity tonight and he thrived."

Dream run on start for Henry.

But Thorn added it wasn't the kind of display he wanted from his side in their first home game in the north for over a decade.

"We were pretty determined to have a performance up here tonight. We haven't been to Townsville for 14-odd years.

"We love Brisbane, but we represent Queensland.

"We wanted to represent the state how I believe it should be represented and that's why I'm a little bit disappointed with how we ended."

The Reds got their first points through a penalty try from a deliberate knockdown and referee Nic Berry sent Chase Tiatia to the bin for the offence,

Henry bagged his double just before the end of the firsthalf and was joined on the scoresheet by Suliasi Vunivalu and Feao Fotuaika  with the Chiefs facing an uphill struggle with the score 33-3 at halftime.

But the Chiefs, in a brave bid not to come undone, scored five tries in the second half and came up just short in their comeback. 

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan was blunt in his assessment of the result, suggesting it was a dagger to their finals' aspirations. 

"I personally think that the loss tonight is terminal, we'll be gone," he said post-match.

"We're disappointed we won't be able to contest that final, barring a minor miracle.

"But we've got a really young squad and we need to learn the lessons from tonight and come back better. So, everything to play for."

REDS 40

Tries: Henry 2, Vunivalu, Fotuaika, Daugunu, pen try

Cons: O'Connor 4

CHIEFS 34

Tries: Sowakula, Vaa'i, O'Neill, Sullivan, Roe

Pens: McKenzie

Cons: Trask 3

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