Brad Thorn's Reds smash Bulls in Super Rugby comeback
Having slipped to a 17-0 deficit inside 20 minutes to the South African visitors on Saturday, the Reds scored six unanswered tries either side of halftime to claim just their second win of the season.
A knee injury to young backrower Harry Wilson was the only negative for the Reds, with the 20-year-old limping off in the 57th minute with a suspected medial ligament injury.
The win appeared unlikely as the Pretoria-based Bulls came out flying in the opening minutes.
Halfback Embrose Papier opened the scoring in the eighth minute but it was the pace of the visitors’ outside backs which tore the home team apart early.
Jet-heeled winger Rosko Specman scored one before combining with World Cup-winning fullback Warrick Gelant to race to a 17-0 lead inside 20 minutes.
The Reds also copped a yellow card to Chris Feauai-Sautia during the onslaught after he was penalised for a dangerous late tackle.
With the game threatening to slip away, Reds’ skipper Liam Wright provided the spark when he crashed over in the 29th minute.
Wright then provided inspiration in defence to deny Specman on the tryline before winning a penalty in the following phases.
His efforts were rewarded minutes later when Isaac Lucas got on the end of three quick offloads to bring the hosts within three at halftime.
The comeback was complete at the start of the second half when another excellent team move ended with Taniela Tupou’s flick pass releasing Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who scored to put the Reds in front for the first time in the match.
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