Reds roll Western Force to cap rugby's Super Round

Sun, Mar 5, 2023, 6:46 AM
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP

Queensland have signed off Super Round with a record victory over the Western Force, capping a positive weekend for Australian teams.

With all 12 Super Rugby Pacific sides playing at Melbourne's AAMI Park over three days, the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies all left as winners while the Rebels had a narrow loss to the Hurricanes.

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They scored 10 tries to three to bank a crushing 71-20 win - their biggest ever score in Super Rugby.

Coach Brad Thorn was pleased with the Reds' response after their opening loss.

"A week ago we were hurting around the score ... we needed a response and the guys did that in spades today," Thorn said.

Force coach Simon Cron said his players lost confidence after they failed to stick to defensive system, likening the match to a "car crash".

"In terms of performance it was a poor one by us and they played really well," Cron said.

"The key thing for us is sometimes if you're off by 10 per cent Super Rugby can look like a car crash and that's what I saw today.

"We fix that and give the boys clarity around where we can be better, that's what we've got to do now."

Queensland looked to have scored after 30 seconds thanks to a 30-metre break by Jordan Petaia, with the silky fullback gliding through the defence and off-loading to Josh Flook, however the centre put his foot on the sideline.

Queensland fans didn't have to wait long to celebrate, with two tries scored by the six-minute mark, with lock Ryan Smith first across the tryline.

A minute later Petaia showed off his array of skills, following up his own thumping kicking down-field and collecting the ball to touch down for a try of his own to a 14-0 lead.

The Force, who were round one winners over Melbourne, hit back when winger Zach Kibirige got on the outside of his opposite Suliasi Vunivalu.

While they got on the board again through ex-Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga'a, the Reds pushed the scoreline out to 29-13 by halftime and looked in full control.

With Wallabies coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands No.8 Harry Wilson impressed while Test playmaker James O'Connor looked sharp in his first run of the season.

The second half was one to forget for new Force coach Cron with the Reds piling on the misery, the men from Perth not helped by losing flanker Ollie Callan to a red card for a high tackle and their captain Michael Wells to a HIA.

Among the tryscorers Vunivalu, who made a name for himself on the same ground as a Melbourne Storm NRL player, intercepted a pass and ran 80m to score.

While he managed to touch down he pulled up just before line sparking fears he had re-injured his hamstring.

But it was only a cramp with the World Cup hopeful playing on.

With the Force down to 13 men, also losing Jackson Pugh to a yellow card for the final minutes, Flook finished with two tries as did winger Felipe Daugunu.

REDS 71

TRIES: Smith, Petaia, Wilson, Flook 2, Faessler, Daugunu 2

CONS: Lynagh 5/6, O'Connor 4/4

PENS: Lynagh 1/1

FORCE 20

TRIES: Kibirige, Fainga'a, Pugh

CONS: Hegarty 1/3

PENS: Hegarty 1/1

WESTERN FORCE v QUEENSLAND REDS TEAMS

FORCE (1-15): Tom Robertson, Folau Fainga’a, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Williams, Jeremy Thrush, Tim Anstee, Ollie Callan, Michael Wells, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Bryce Hegarty, Zach Kibirige, Hamish Stewart, Bayley Kuenzle, Manasa Mataele, Chase Tiatia

RESERVES: Tom Horton, Angus Wagner, Siosifa Amone, Felix Kalapu, Jackson Pugh, Ian Prio, George Poolman, Jake Strachan

REDS (1-15): Dane Zander, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Liam Wright (co-c) Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), Tom Lynagh, Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jordan Petaia

RESERVES: Richie Asiata, Sef Fa'agase, Peni Ravai, Jake Upfield, Connor Anderson, Kalani Thomas, James O'Connor, Jock Campbell

Referee: Paul Williams

Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Angus Gardner

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