Nick Frisby scored two tries in the Reds' 30-17 win against the Cheetahs in Brisbane on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
At the Suncorp Stadium, it was plain to see why the Reds are fourth in the Australian conference, and why the Cheetahs are fifth on the South African group log. The handling as well as the quality of the decision-making by both teams was shockingly poor.
The Cheetahs spent most of the first quarter camped inside the Reds 22, but only managed to score three points during that period. The visitors dominated territory and possession over the course of the first 40 minutes, but allowed the Reds to level the scores on the stroke of half-time.
The Cheetahs did score a well-worked try through flanker Uzair Cassiem while the Reds were down to 14 men. Reds centre Anthony Fainga'a was shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge in the 29th minute, and the Cheetahs scored seven points in his absence.
The Cheetahs scrum gave away a series of penalties during the first stanza. The visitors' wobbling set piece then conceded a tighthead on their own tryline right at the end of the half. Reds No 8 Curtis Browning picked up from the base of the scrum and drove over the tryline. Jake McIntyre's conversion saw the hosts drawing level at 10-10.
After the break, the Reds put some passes together and made some telling inroads into the Cheetahs defence. A break down the left-hand touchline in the 46th minute culminated in a try for Frisby, who had run a great supporting line. The Reds scrumhalf scored his second try of the match in the 63rd minute following a sustained attack by the hosts.
There was some drama in the 69th minute when Reds flanker Liam Gill was shown a yellow card for cynical play. Raymond Rhule scored in the corner almost immediately after that incident, and the conversion by Fred Zeilinga reduced the deficit to 10 points.
A penalty by McIntyre in the 76th minute restored the hosts' 13-point advantage. The Cheetahs had an opportunity to score at the death and claim a consolatory bonus point, but Clayton Blommetjies' try was disallowed when referee Ben O'Keefe identified an incident of foul play in the buildup.
O'Keefe ruled that Cheetahs flank Willie Britz had struck a Reds player off the ball. Britz was sin-binned, and the Reds were allowed to clear the ball upfield, and ultimately close out the game.
Reds – Tries: Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby (2). Conversions: Jake McIntyre (3). Penalties: McIntyre (3).
Cheetahs – Tries: Uzair Cassiem, Raymond Rhule. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2). Penalty: Zeilinga.
Reds – 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Junior Laloifi, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lodewyk de Jager (c), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Willie Britz, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Neil Marais.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images