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Reds player ratings vs Highlanders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
Ryan Smith. (Photo by AAP Image/Darren England)

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In the second of a Friday night double-header in round 12 of Super Rugby Pacific, the Reds welcomed the Highlanders to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

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The Reds went into the match understrength at the scrum with the late withdrawal of Harry Hoopert due to illness, already contending with the loss of Tupou for the remainder of the regular season. They did welcome back Jordan Petaia and Suliasi Vunivalu to add some strike power in the backs. 

The Highlanders were looking to stay in the race with a win on Aussie soil and were able to control the game at crucial periods. 

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The Reds had their chances in the first half with the Highlanders copping two yellow cards, but the Landers hung on to trail 12-10 at the break. It was a tough day at the office for the Reds scrum, and the team lost Harry Wilson to a nasty head knock just after halftime. 

The Highlanders edged ahead late to run out victors 27-19.

Here’s how the Reds rated:

1. Dane Zander – 5
Called in to start the game just before kick-off and struggled to hold up his side during the game. Had running repairs to gash in his head all night.

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2. Richie Asiata – 5.5
Was solid at lineout time and managed the ball at the back in the maul. Subbed off in the 52-minute.

3. Feao Fotuaika – 5.5
Was overpowered in the scrum at times and was largely ineffective in his carries. Was able to get around the park to support his forwards in the breakdown.

4. Ryan Smith – 6.5
Was targeted in the lineout six times for the Reds and did well to disrupt the Highlanders at times. Showed a tremendous work rate around the park. Scored for the Reds in the 54th minute to regain the lead.

 

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5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 6
Was heavily involved in the forward battle, carrying hard in tight and forming a nice combination with Uru. Brought some much-needed aggression to the pack but couldn’t lift his team when the game was in the balance.

6. Seru Uru – 7
Made plenty of carries, finishing with a team-high 14 and making 37 metres. He was dangerous when he got his arms free, providing clever offloads when needed. Won an important turnover in the second half to keep the Reds in the game.

7. Fraser McReight – 7
Worked his backside off all game, making a team-high 20 tackles and finding space out wide to carry for 48-metres. Made a crucial turnover on the Reds line to shut down a Highlanders attacking raid.

8. Harry Wilson – 5
A few handling errors early on. Was well contained by the Landers in the first half and played more of a link role to supply his teammates with the ball out the back. Copped an ugly head knock regathering the ball to open the second half and had to be carted off the field.

9. Tate McDermott – 6
Set the tempo for the Reds with fast service from the base of the ruck. Sniped around the Landers defence in the tight corridors and exposed some lazy forwards. In a crucial period for the Reds, he was replaced by Jeans just before the 70th-minute mark.

10. Lawson Creighton – 5
The young playmaker is still finding his feet at Super Rugby level and made some poor decision-making. He tried hard to rally his troops but couldn’t get the backline firing.

11. Jordan Petaia – 6
Returning to starting line-up, he looked like a threat whenever he got the ball in his hand. Ran for 81 metres off 11 carries. Threw an unnecessary offload when the Reds were hot on attack, but other than that looked in good nick.

12. Hamish Stewart – 6.5
Was solid in defence in the midfield, making tackles other backline players were shy to make. Made a great burst through a Highlanders ruck to set up Smith’s try. He needed to step up and support Creighton but didn’t make good use of possession.

13. Josh Flook – 6.5
Jumped over Hunt to reel in a brilliant cross-field kick to score the Reds’ second try. Played well above his weight in defence, putting on some big shots. Straightened up the attack with some hard running.

14. Suliasi Vunivalu – 5.5
Returning from injury, he came off his wing looking for work. Managed to get the ball in hands but was limited with time and space by the Highlanders.

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15. Jock Campbell – 6
Took advantage of two yellow cards to the Highlanders to slice through a gap to score the opening points of the match. Tried to inject himself into the match late in the game but found his way shut by the Highlanders defence.

Reserves:

16. Matt Faessler – N/A
On in the 52nd minute.

17. Sef Fa’agase – 5
Called up late to the match-day squad as injury cover, he got on the field to shore up the scrum.

18. Albert Anae – 5
Another prop brought in for injury cover, Anae replaced Zander to add some experience but never really gained any ascendency at scrum time.

19. Angus Blyth – 5.5
Came on late and added some aggression but couldn’t turn the tide in the Reds favour.

20. Angus Scott-Young – 6
Entered the fray in the 42nd minute for an injured Harry Wilson and was industrious as ever.

21. Spencer Jeans – N/A
Came on in the 70th minute. Showed some good awareness to put in a quick box kick off a turnover that put the Reds in Highlanders territory.

22. Filipo Daugunu – N/A
Came on in the 68th minute and was combative in the ruck.

23. Mac Grealy – N/A
Didn’t get on the park.

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