The Queensland Reds have sounded a warning shot to the rest of Super Rugby AU, demolishing the Waratahs in the season-opener on Friday night
- The Reds scored 41 unanswered points to record a bonus point win
- The Waratahs spent 20 minutes with 14 players, after Izaia Perese was sent off
- James O’Connor was perfect with his kicking boots, slotting five conversions and two penalty goals
The Reds ran in five tries to one at Lang Park, recording a 41-7 bonus-point win.
James O’Conner was perfect with his kicking boot, slotting two penalty goals and five conversions as the home side scored their 41-points unanswered.
The game started at a frantic pace, with four tries in the opening 20 minutes.
The Waratahs showed their wiliness to throw the ball around in the early phases of play, with scrum-half Jake Gordon scoring in the corner after three minutes.
But the lead did not last long.
James O’Connor scored three points for the Reds to bring the deficit to four.
Then, an 11-minute period of play which led to three Reds’ tries opened the game wide.
Tries to Jock Campbell in the 9th minute, Alex Mafi in the 14th and Filipo Daugunu in the 18th left the Waratahs defence in tatters.
O’Conner’s right foot was also showing fine form, converting all three tries to establish a 24-7 lead.
The game then settled down with both defences tightening up.
The Reds on the goal-line were very stout in defence, thwarting a number of Waratahs attacks.
O’Conner added three points to give the Reds a 20-point lead at half-time.
The Reds started the stronger of the two sides in the second half, trying to take advantage of an extra man.
The Reds were camped in the Waratahs 22, trying to extend their lead.
But three knock-ons stopped any chance of turning territory into points.
The Waratahs returned to 15 players on the field in the 56th minute and immediately noticed a change in fortunes.
The away side found their confidence again and chanced their arms, attempting to claw back the deficit.
But the same errors which plagued the Reds in attacking situations then stifled the Waratahs’ chances of converting territory into points.
More pressure finally paid off for the Reds when a 50-22 kick — another new rule variant adopted from Rugby League — lead to Filipo Daugunu finishing off a well-worked set-piece off the line-out to score under the posts.
A try on full-time to Ilaisa Droasese sealed the Reds’ 41-7 win.
The first variation of the send-off has been used
Waratahs outside centre Izaia Perese has become the first player replaced after receiving a red card, since the new variation was introduced.
Perese was dismissed after 37 minutes for a spear-tackle against his opposite number, Hunter Paisami.
The new variation of the red-card rule means the Waratahs were down to 14 men for 20 minutes, but could then bring on a replacement after that time was up.
This means the Waratahs battled with 14 players until the 56th-minute mark.
The new rule was introduced to ensure foul play is properly punished but not to effectively make it near impossible for the team down to 14 players to win.
The Waratahs struggled while the Reds had the extra man, but they were resilient and did not concede a point.
Once they had 15 players again, their attack improved and they threatened to pressure the Reds on the scoreboard.