The Reds recorded just their third win of the season with a come-from-behind 46-29 win over the Rebels in Brisbane on Friday. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
Everything seemed to be going to plan for the visitors after two tries from Sefanaia Naivalu helped them to a 17-11 half-time lead. However, not for the first time this season, things fell completely to pieces in the second stanza, with the Reds running in five tries to seal a comfortable victory.
It was an amazing turnaround for the Reds, who have struggled for points all season. The confidence, that has so far eluded them this campaign, came flooding back and they scored some wonderful tries in a fine display of running rugby.
The victory lifts them off the foot of the table, while the Rebels' play-off hopes have all but evaporated, despite claiming a losing bonus point for scoring four tries. They now find themselves on 30 log points, still four outside the play-off places ahead of their South African sojourn.
It had all started so well for the visitors as Naivalu went over for the opening try after just five minutes. Two penalties from James O'Connor either side of one from Mike Harris had got the Reds back into the match, but after failing to deal with a high ball, the Rebels pounced for Naivalu to go in for his second.
The Rebels led 17-6 at that stage, but 26 unanswered points either side of half-time effectively ended the match as a contest. The Reds hit back with a try of their own just prior to half-time through Rob Simmons after good buildup play involving O'Connor and Chris Feauai-Sautia.
After the break it was all Reds, as tries from debutant Jake McItyre, Lachie Turner and Feauai-Sautia saw them open up a 15-point lead. The Rebels weren't helped by a yellow card to flyhalf Jack Debreczeni for cynical play in a bid to halt the Reds onslaught.
A second try from Lachie Turner and one from Liam Gill from the back of a rolling maul edged the Reds towards the half-century. However, it was the Rebels who would finish strongest, as tries from former Reds winger Dom Shipperley and lock Luke Jones allowed them to escape with a bonus point.
In the end the scoreline flattered the Rebels somewhat, who will need to pick themselves up ahead of their meeting with the Stormers at Newlands next weekend.
Reds – Tries: Rob Simmons, Jake McItyre, Lachie Turner (2), Chris Feauai-Sautia, Liam Gill. Conversions: James O'Connor (5). Penalties: O'Connor (2)
Rebels – Tries: Sefanaia Naivalu (2), Dom Shipperley, Luke Jones. Conversions: Mike Harris (3). Penalty: Harris.
Reds – 15 James O’Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ben Tapuai.
Rebels – 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Tom English.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images