The Reds won back-to-back games for just the second time this season as they beat an ill-disciplined Sunwolves team 32-26 in Brisbane on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The game, a rather poor advert for Vodacom Super Rugby, played out as one would expect from two of the lowest-ranked teams in the competition. While the intent and intensity was definitely present, the overall skills and quality were sorely lacking from both teams.
It was a game that was unfortunately marred by ill-discipline as it bizarrely ended with a 14-man Reds team playing against a 12-man Sunwolves side after Semisi Masirewa and Harry Hockings were shown red cards. The Sunwolves also lost Masataka Mikami to a yellow in the first half and then Yu Tamura in the second. A further yellow card was shown to No 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco in the closing stages of the match.
Despite being under pressure for a majority of the first half, the Sunwolves were able to take a 13-8 lead into the break, thanks to a try from Gerhard van den Heever, who raced on to a grubber kick from flyhalf Hayden Parker.
The home side did finally get a breakthrough three minutes into the second half, as big tighthead Taniela Tupou forced his way over after a linebreak from Samu Kerevi.
Parker then slotted his third penalty to bring the visitors back into the lead, but the Sunwolves’ efforts took a massive blow as Masirewa was sent off, leaving them with 14 men for the remaining 30 minutes.
The Reds took immediate advantage as Sefa Naivalu latched on to a cross-kick for their third try, before Bryce Hegarty and Parker traded penalties to make it a six-point game heading into the final 15 minutes.
Surprisingly, the Sunwolves retook the lead as Van den Heever raced away for his second try, successfully converted by Parker.
The Reds wasted no time in landing the decisive blow after Tamura was yellow-carded, when replacement hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa scored from a powerful driving maul.
Reds – Tries: Bryce Hegarty, Taniela Tupou, Sefa Naivalu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa. Conversions: Hegarty (3). Penalties: Hegarty (2).
Sunwolves – Tries: Gerhard van den Heever(2). Conversions: Hayden Parker (2). Penalties: Parker (4).
Reds – 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Jock Campbell, 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-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert.
Subs: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Seb Wileman.
Sunwolves – 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Grant Hattingh, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Subs: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Tom Rowe, 20 Ben Gunter, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Jamie Henry.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images