The Reds beat the understrength Rebels 57-5 in Gladstone on Friday, with winger Daugunu the benefactor in the first of two pre-season games before the Super Rugby season begins later this month.
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Five years after prematurely ending his contract at the Reds, the returning James O’Connor dominated at No.12 outside five-eighth Isaac Lucas, while scrumhalf Tate McDermott and fullback Bryce Hegarty combined to give the Reds multiple points of attack.
All four playmakers helped set up Daugunu tries, the Fijian flyer notching his hat-trick inside 36 minutes and adding his fifth inside 50 minutes with a long-range effort in the second half.
A dangerous tackle in the 75th minute earned him a red card though, with the winger now facing the prospect of missing the Reds’ Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies on January 31.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 18, 2020
“He can have all those tries back without the tackle, from my point of view,” coach Brad Thorn said.
“But I guess that’s your job on the end there, to put the ball down, so it’s good he did that.
“There was a touch of class from James and was good to see young Isaac working in well there and Bryce having a little hit as well.”
Junior Wallabies star Harry Wilson was also busy as he eyes minutes in the Reds’ backrow this season, but the side should expect a sterner test in their final hit-out against the Waratahs in Dalby next Friday.
Melbourne will play the Brumbies in a Super Rugby trial in Albury next Thursday.
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