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'Needed a response': Reds sign off Super Round with record win over Force

By AAP
(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Queensland have signed off Super Round with a record victory over the Western Force, capping a positive weekend for Australian teams.

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With all 12 Super Rugby Pacific sides playing at Melbourne’s AAMI Park over three days, the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies all left as winners while the Rebels had a narrow loss to the Hurricanes.

After a disappointing 34-point loss to the Hurricanes in round one, the Reds started their Sunday afternoon clash with a bang and never looked back.

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They scored 10 tries to three to bank a crushing 71-20 win – their biggest ever score in Super Rugby.

Coach Brad Thorn was pleased with the Reds’ response after their opening loss.

“A week ago we were hurting around the score…we needed a response and the guys did that in spades today,” Thorn said.

Force coach Simon Cron said his players lost confidence after they failed to stick to defensive system, likening the match to a “car crash”.

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“In terms of performance it was a poor one by us and they played really well,” Cron said.

“The key thing for us is sometimes if you’re off by 10 per cent Super Rugby can look like a car crash and that’s what I saw today.

“We fix that and give the boys clarity around where we can be better, that’s what we’ve got to do now.”

Queensland looked to have scored after 30 seconds thanks to a 30-metre break by Jordan Petaia, with the silky fullback gliding through the defence and off-loading to Josh Flook, however the centre put his foot on the sideline.

Queensland fans didn’t have to wait long to celebrate, with two tries scored by the six-minute mark, with lock Ryan Smith first across the tryline.

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A minute later Petaia showed off his array of skills, following up his own thumping kicking down-field and collecting the ball to touch down for a try of his own to a 14-0 lead.

The Force, who were round one winners over Melbourne, hit back when winger Zach Kibirige got on the outside of his opposite Suliasi Vunivalu.

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While they got on the board again through ex-Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a, the Reds pushed the scoreline out to 29-13 by halftime and looked in full control.

With Wallabies coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands No.8 Harry Wilson impressed while Test playmaker James O’Connor looked sharp in his first run of the season.

The second half was one to forget for new Force coach Cron with the Reds piling on the misery, the men from Perth not helped by losing flanker Ollie Callan to a red card for a high tackle and their captain Michael Wells to a HIA.

Among the tryscorers Vunivalu, who made a name for himself on the same ground as a Melbourne Storm NRL player, intercepted a pass and ran 80m to score.

While he managed to touch down he pulled up just before line sparking fears he had re-injured his hamstring.

But it was only a cramp with the World Cup hopeful playing on.

With the Force down to 13 men, also losing Jackson Pugh to a yellow card for the final minutes, Flook finished with two tries as did winger Felipe Daugunu.

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finn 5 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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