Reds kick off Super Rugby AU with record win over Waratahs

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19 Feb 2021
Reds kick off Super Rugby AU with record win over Waratahs

The Reds kicked off the 2021 Super Rugby AU season with a superb 41-7 victory over the Waratahs - their biggest win ever over their arch-rivals.

Last year's Super Rugby AU runners-up did most of their damage early in the first half with three quickfire tries, before sealing the bonus-point victory late on with two more five-pointers.

It was a pretty complete performance from the Reds although the backs in particular were impressive, with the likes of Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia causing the opposition plenty of problems.

It all began with the Waratahs, however, who earned a couple of early penalties to put themselves in a good attacking position.

Jake Gordon quickly sent the ball wide and, after being moved through the hands, Jack Maddocks did well to offload in the tackle to Gordon coming around on his outside, allowing the No 9 to score the try in the corner.

But the Reds hit back immediately after the restart when Izaia Perese strayed offside and James O'Connor slotted the penalty to bring them back to within four, and moments later they were in front after picking up their first try of the match.

It was a simple attacking move from a lineout inside their own half that did the trick, with the ball going to the short side before some wonderful interplay between the Reds backs and forwards saw fullback Jack Campbell go over, with the Waratahs defence seemingly unable to come up with an answer.

Now looking very confident, the Reds had their second try within minutes of the first after piling more pressure on the Tahs line, with hooker Alex Mafi barging over after spinning out of the way of two defenders.

Queensland were on fire now and it didn't take them long to score their third try, cutting the Waratahs defence to ribbons once again as a great offload by Paisami created the space for Daugunu to score.

O'Connor nailed his third conversion as the Reds, having been 0-7 down, found themselves with a 24-7 lead.

After the Waratahs nearly hit back with a second try for Gordon, who went for the line from behind a ruck only to be held up, the Reds were soon back on the attack at the other end, ultimately earning three points for their troubles to stretch their lead even further.

Already up against it, disaster struck for the Waratahs four minutes before the break when Perese received a red card for a dangerous and illegal tip tackle on Paisami. That reduced the visitors to 14 men - although not for the whole match, following a change to the rules which allows red-carded players to be replaced after 20 minutes.

The Reds were nearly in again at the start of the second half when a crossfield kick came close to finding Petaia, although it was a spectacular take and run from Daugunu near the touchline at the other end of the field in the build-up that really got the crowd excited.

The Waratahs were doing well not to give away any more points while they waited to replace Perese, but it was all defence which meant they weren't making any inroads into their 20-point deficit either.

The second half was proving to be a much tighter affair, with both teams starting to tire in the Brisbane humidity as mistakes crept in and the penalty count crept up.

The onus was on the Tahs to chase the game with the Reds having already put the points on the board, but Rob Penney's charges were struggling to find a way back into the game.

With the Tahs having seen a few opportunities go begging, it was the Reds who ultimately put the game to bed nine minutes from time with their fourth try.

From an attacking setpiece in the opposition 22, substitute No 9 Moses Sorovi broke free from the scrum and produced a perfectly-timed offload for Daugunu, who cut through the defence to score his second of the evening.

There was time for one more score in stoppage time from substitute Ilaisa Droasese to rub salt in the wounds as it finished five tries to one to the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

Reds - Tries: Jack Campbell, Alex Mafi, Filipo Daugunu (2), Ilaisa Droasese. Conversions: James O'Connor (5). Penalties: James O'Connor (2).

Waratahs - Tries: Jake Gordon. Conversions: Will Harrison. Red cards: Izaia Perese.

Reds - 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O'Connor (captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Seru Uru, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Feao Fotuaika, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Dane Zander
Replacements: 16 Richie Asiata, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Tuania Taii Tualima, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Ilaisa Droasese

Waratahs - 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Joey Walton, 11 James Ramm, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Sam Caird, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Angus Bell
Replacements: 16 David Porecki, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Sio Tatola, 19 Jeremy Williams, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Tane Edmed, 23 Mark Nawaqanitawase

Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Nic Berry, Jordan Way
TMO: Brett Cronan