An injury-ravaged St.George Queensland Reds have battled gamely before going down 29-0 to the competition-leading Brumbies in a tough Asteron Life Super Rugby clash at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
The Reds went down through five tries to the visitors with Ben Alexander getting a double and Stephen Moore, Ita Vaea, and Christian Leali’ifano also crossing. Leali’ifano landed two conversions
Reds head coach Richard Graham said: “We entered the game with a real confidence in how we wanted to play this game and at 10-0 down at half time, we knew we had every opportunity to win it. It’s a disappointing result for the group because it was within our grasp.
“With the bye next week, it’s important the guys take a physical and mental break from Rugby. It has been a difficult start to the season, but we’ll come back to Ballymore late next week with a renewed focus and put all our efforts into getting a win over the Lions at home in two weeks.
“At this point in time there’s seven guys returning to the squad for the Lions game – that doesn’t guarantee us anything, but it provides us with more numbers to train with, provides a more competitive environment in terms of selection and it obviously provides us with some more experience as we’ll be bringing some Wallabies back into the squad.”
Conditions were perfect with the temperature 24% at a dry Suncorp at kick-off.
The Brumbies started on the offensive but James Horwill did well to disrupt a breakdown in a dangerous position.
The visitors won a penalty from the resulting scrum but Leali’ifano’s attempt went wide.
The Reds were clearly fired up for this encounter, after the big loss to the same opponent in the opening round, with real sting in the tackles and committed work at the breakdown.
Horwill was again prominent, winning an important turnover on 10 minutes as fullback Ben Tapuai and 18-year-old winger Campbell Magnay were making some inroads with ball in hand.
The Brumbies strung together the phases on 20 minutes and despite desperate defence from the Reds, Moore snuck over out wide with Leali’ifano missing the conversion.
The Queensland line was again breached on 28 minutes with the Brumbies once more applying pressure over multiple phases close to the line before prop Alexander forced his way over. Leali’ifano’s conversion attempt hit the post to leave the score at 10-0.
The Reds strung some excellent phases together in the 32nd minute, with Chris Kuridrani making good yards down the right wing, but the promising move broke down when Matt Toomua intercepted an Adam Thomson pass.
On 38 minutes Nick Frisby chipped over the Brumbies defensive line and won a penalty due to a premature tackle. But his long range penalty attempt was out to the right to leave the score 10-0 to the visitors at half time.
Liam Gill was yellow carded early in the second half for a dangerous tackle on Nic White, with Alexander going over for his second try in the same movement. This time Leali’ifano’s conversion was successful to make it 17-0.
The Brumbies notched a further two tries through Ita Vaea and Leali’ifano to take the score to 29-0 by full time.
The Reds now have the bye before taking on the Lions at Suncorp Stadium on Friday 27 March.
St George Queensland Reds 0 lost to Brumbies 29 (Ben Alexander 2, Stephen Moore, Ita Vaea, Christian Leali’ifano tries; Leali’ifano 2 conversions) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. (HALF TIME: Reds 0 Brumbies 10) (Referee: Andrew Lees [AUS])