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‘It means everything’: How Reds stars reacted to famous win over Chiefs

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

With time up on the clock, the previously unbeaten Chiefs were both desperate and focused as they launched a tirade of attacking pressure on the Reds’ try line at Yarrow Stadium.

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Chants of “Chiefs, Chiefs, Chiefs” burst out among the crowd in Taranaki as the hosts continued to build the phases  – but then, replacement Tyrone Thompson looked to win it at the death.

With the final play of the match, and the 27th phase of the Chiefs’ attack as well, Thompson lunged over the try-line for what would’ve been the match-winning score.

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Referee Paul Williams called for time off as he assessed the situation.

For the Reds, Chiefs, and both of their supporters, time stood still.

Williams had his head practically in the ruck as he looked to either award the try or break the hearts of all Chiefs players, coaches and supporters.

Eventually, the referee stood up and determined that the ball was held up, and the Reds players began to rejoice – but not too much. They quickly held themselves back.

All eyes were on Paul Williams – again, time stood still.

With five blows of the whistle, the referee brought to an end to a thrilling trans-Tasman derby in Taranaki, with the Reds winning 25-22.

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Immediately, the Reds began to celebrate their first win on New Zealand soil in 10 years. As for the previously unbeaten Chiefs, players dropped their heads – some even fell to the ground.

Their winning streak was over.

While this season hasn’t quite gone to plan for the Reds, the Queenslanders played the game of their lives on Friday night.

Speaking with former All Black Jeff Wilson after the match, co-captain Tate McDermott said the victory meant “everything” to the Reds.

“It’s unbelievable. We’ve had a pretty poor season so to come down here and put on a show, and we’re just so proud of the boys,” McDermott said postgame on Sky Sport.

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“Obviously massively underdogs and coming off a pretty poor result last week.

“It means everything, it gives us new life.”

The Reds started their season with two wins from their first four starts – but things went from bad to worse as they made the trip down to Melbourne.

Melbourne beat their Australian rivals 40-34 in March, which started a three-game losing streak for the Queenslanders.

But the Reds have turned their season around over the past month, having won three of their four matches since April 14.

“We’ve always lacked the polish. Discipline has been a bloody Achilles heel for us and tonight we put it away,” McDermott added.

“The boys kicked really well and we defended like a pack of dogs so mate, I’m so proud of that.

“They’ve got a class back three so how we could limit that, we wanted to invite them into a kick battle, and I thought we did really well to limit the threats at the back there.

“We turned up for each other and that’s all I can ask from this group.”

As he has been all season, Wallaby backrower Fraser McReight was one of the Reds’ best players on Friday night.

McReight’s name was seemingly called the most out of any player on the broadcast – having run the ball nine times, and finishing with a staggering 16 tackles as well.

But best of all, the 24-year-old flanker had put in another 80 minute shift.

“Super, super proud. It’s something that we’ve been building for a few weeks now and to see it finally come off when we probably needed it the most was really pleasing,” McReight said postgame.

“To see all the boys, how excited they are, it means so much to the group.”

Speaking with Joe Wheeler and Angus Ta’avao, McReight’s interview was momentarily interrupted by a well-deserved team photo with his teammates.

With a Sky Sport microphone inhis hand, McReight joined his teammates, before running back over to Wheeler and Ta’avao for the second part of the interview.

“I think everyone sort of probably knows the situation that’s been happening for the past few years,” he added.

“I think for us, just more so we had nothing to lose.

“Obviously it’s really tight for that finals situation, that bottom four of the eight is quite close.

“For us, obviously the Chiefs were undefeated so we knew they had all the power and we didn’t really matter, people were gonna write us off.

“It was just great to see some really good results and some really good Queensland fight, the old cliché, but it was really good.”

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wayne 401 days ago

Final some super rugby excitement

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