The Reds produced a clinical all-round performance to claim an important 36-14 bonus-point win over the Brumbies in Brisbane on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Heading into this contest, the Reds dwelled at the bottom of the overall standings, having endured another largely forgettable start to this season.
Yet they would have seen a home fixture against the inconsistent Brumbies as an ideal opportunity to bank a second win of the season, and they duly took full advantage of the warm conditions in Brisbane to wear down tiring opponents.
Over the course of the first half, the Reds made 208m to 101 and beat 14 defenders to four, while the Brumbies were guilty of missing as many as 14 tackles (having made just 53).
The hosts also began to build some scoreboard pressure when Scott Higginbotham powered over the tryline, before Bryce Hegarty knocked over a penalty to hand the Reds a handy 10-point lead at the break.
Although the Brumbies made the ideal start to the second half when Henry Speight finished off a five-pointer in the corner, the Reds responded with an emphatic double strike, with Chris Feauai-Sautia and Tate McDermott scoring impressive long-range tries.
That suddenly sent the Reds into a commanding 24-7 lead, and although Jahrome Brown would claim a consolation try for the Brumbies, the hosts secured the bonus point when Hegarty and Brandon Paenga-Amosa went over to score late in the game.
Reds – Tries: Scott Higginbotham, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott, Bryce Hegarty, Brandon Paenga-Amosa. Conversions: Hegarty (4). Penalty: Hegarty.
Brumbies – Tries: Henry Speight, Jahrome Brown. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (2).
Reds – 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (c), 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Feo Fotuaika.
Subs: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Isacc Lucas.
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Jordan Jackson-Hope.
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images