The Queensland Reds have ended a 7-year winless streak against fierce rivals New South Wales Waratahs to open Super Rugby AU. An impressive scrumming performance from the Reds front row led by Taniela Tupou laid the platform for the home side, who led by six at the break.

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But a 16-0 run from the Waratahs saw them take the lead early in the second half, before a mixed performance from the Reds guided them to a tough win in the dying stages. 

Tate McDermott and Filipo Daugunu were particularly impressive for the home side, as was the scrumming dominance.

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Let’s see how the Reds rated:

1. Harry Hoopert – 5.5

Played his part in a very dominant Reds scrum but was fairly quiet otherwise.

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa6/10

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A mixed night from the set-piece for Paenga-Amosa. Contributed to the set move that led to Liam Wright’s try, but also missed some targets at the lineout. 

3. Taniela Tupou – 8.5/10

Dominated Angus Bell and the Waratahs scrum in the first half with pure strength. But Tupou’s poor discipline put his side under pressure with 15 minutes to play when a late tackle on Will Harrison saw him sent to the sin bin.

4. Angus Blyth – n/a

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Didn’t have enough time to make an impact after leaving the field early with a concussion.

5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 4.5/10

Was a primary lineout option for the Reds but otherwise went missing around the park.

6. Liam Wright – 8/10

A true captain’s knock from the 22-year-old who crossed over for the opener early on. Was otherwise impressive around the park with carries, in defence and around the breakdown.

7. Fraser McReight – 8/10

Didn’t look out of place in his first start at Super Rugby level, doing his job in both attack and defence. Earned his side a pivotal penalty with a turnover with three minutes to play. 

8. Harry Wilson – 7.5/10

Was uncharacteristically quiet in attack before muscling his way over for a five-pointer with 15 minutes to go. Made his mark on defence with an impressive display.

9. Tate McDermott – 9/10

Controlled the game with class simply beyond his years. Was looking dangerous around the ruck, constantly sniping for opportunities. Caught the Waratahs napping with a cheeky tap-and-go in the 29th minute for a try. Nearly scored another but was chased down by Jack Maddocks after running 45 metres through the heart of the Waratahs defence. Also kicked the first 50/22 of Super Rugby AU – taking advantage of the new rules. If he keeps playing like that, he must surely be a lock for Dave Rennie’s Wallabies plans.

10. James O’Connor – 7/10

Kicked too much ball away in the first half, but also took the line on with ball in hand. Brilliant 15 metre cut-out pass to set up Daugunu in the corner. Had a quiet second half but kicked the winning penalty late in the match.

11. Filipo Daugunu – 8.5/10

A left foot step from five metres out saw him score the Reds’ second try. Actively tried to get involved throughout the match, even finding himself with ball in hand in the midfield at times. Constantly looked dangerous with what appeared to be an abundance of energy.

12. Hamish Stewart – 5/10

A quiet night from Stewart who held his own in defence but was left frustrated with ball in hand.

13. Hunter Paisami – 7.5/10

Was quiet early on before announcing himself to the Brisbane crowd with a huge tackle on James Ramm in the 23rd minute. Was much more lively in the second half, getting his hands on the ball more and proving effective in defence. Showed glimpses of his no nonsense running style that impressed earlier this year.

14. Jock Campbell – 4/10

Struggled to get into the game at all. The ball didn’t come his way tonight.

15. Bryce Hegarty – 5/10

Goalkicking woes continued for the Reds, with Hegarty failing to put his team ahead with a chance late. Was too quiet otherwise, aside from a tidy break down the left edge. Did kick a 22/50 late in the match too.

Reserves

16. Alex Mafi – 6.5/10

Mixed set piece performance after coming on at half-time.

17. JP Smith – 5.5/10

18. Josh Nasser – 6/10

19. Tuaina Taii Tualima – 5.5/10

Came on for his Super Rugby debut earlier than he probably expected, replacing Angus Blyth early. Carried well but struggled to make an impact.

20. Angus Scott-Young – 6/10

21. Scott Malolua – 6/10

Directed the team well around the park late in the match. 

22. Chris Feauai-Sautia – 5/10

Struggled to get involved after coming on late. 

23. Josh Flook – n/a

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