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Reds bag first Aussie win of Trans Tasman as Damian McKenzie sees red

By AAP

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Queensland have registered their first win of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, beating an undermanned Waikato Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville.

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The Reds became the first Australian team to beat Kiwi opposition this year in the 14th match between the rivals.

But the match wasn’t without controversy as Chiefs star flyhalf Damien McKenzie was sent off for a high shot on Tate McDermott in the first half.

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McKenzie collected McDermott across the chin after he put Isaac Henry through a hole to score from 40 metres out.

Henry later bagged a double just before the end of the half and was joined on the scoresheet by Suliasi Vunivalu and Feao Fotuaika.

The Reds got their first try through a penalty-try from a deliberate knockdown and referee Nic Berry sent Chase Tiatia to the bin for the offence, with the visitors facing an uphill struggle with the score 33-3 at halftime.

But the Chiefs, in a brave bid not to come undone, scored five tries in the second half to scare the hosts.

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Pita-Gus Sowakula was first to score before Tupou Vaa’ai and Reuben O’Neill made it just an 18-point deficit with little under 20 minutes to play.

When Bailyn Sullivan and Xavier Roe scored in the final 10 minutes, spectators were set for a barnstorming finish as the visitors tested the Reds defence.

Reds coach Brad Thorn stressed the importance of a solid defensive display this week and although conceding five tries, their last-ditch defence in the final minute was enough to see out the match.

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Vunivalu and flyhalf James O’Connor were standouts for the home side, while Hunter Paisami was electric in the centres.

While the Reds finally ended their six-game slide against them, the defensive effort particularly in the second half will be an area of focus for Thorn.

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Reds bag first Aussie win of Trans Tasman as Damian McKenzie sees red

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