Queensland have warned they’ve got plenty more in the tank after storming back into the Super Rugby frame with a bonus-point defeat of the Brumbies.
Just four points – equal to one win – separate all four Australian franchises after the Reds’ 36-14 win in Brisbane on Sunday gave genuine life to the Brad Thorn era at Ballymore.
After watching his young side flounder in a six-win season last year, Thorn thinks it’s finally starting to click in what could be a warning sign for the competition.
“I can just sense them getting their heads around what they can do,” he said.
“They’re finishing (games) in good shape, but I want to get them to the place where everything is being left out on the park and they’re playing at a hectic speed.”
Queensland’s two late tries earned them a crucial bonus point, moving them to 10 points with two wins from five games.
“We deserved a win like that, not a close one,” he said.
“We wanted to push that pace and tempo … we wanted to take them to place they may not have been used to.”
Meanwhile the Waratahs’ 20-12 defeat of the Crusaders – one that ended a record run of 19-straight wins – shot them to the top of the conference on 14 points.
Israel Folau fuelled the charge, twice soaring to set up tries off Bernard Foley bombs.
The second of those ended in a victory-sealing five-pointer of his own that drew the code-hopper level with former All Black Doug Howlett on 59 tries.
The Rebels (13 points) faded in a 28-14 loss to the Sharks in Durban, leaving both them and the Brumbies (11) in limbo knowing wins would have propelled them to the top of the Australian standings.
“We spoke about the opportunity that we had today … at times you’d swear that we hadn’t had too many line-out sessions together. It was hard to watch,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.
Two first-half tries gave them hope, at one stage leading 14-13.
But they didn’t score another point, accruing 21 handling to three as the Sharks ran away with it in the final 40 minutes.
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