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Reds break 15-year Durban drought

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The 15-year record broken by the Reds

The Queensland Reds have closed their South Africa trip on a high by defeating the Sharks 21-14 in Durban.

With captain Samu Kerevi leading from the front on Friday, the Reds ran in three tries to two at Jonsson Kings Park to record their first win in Durban since 2004.

The visitors struck early with tries to Bryce Hegarty and Chris Feauai-Sautia to build a 14-7 halftime lead then survived a late fightback from the home side to close out their fourth win of the campaign.

The Reds’ young forward pack more than held their own against their experienced counterparts while Kerevi’s powerful running and ability to offload under heavy pressure helped set up two tries.

After accepting his man of the match award, Kerevi praised the coaching staff for creating a positive mindset after last Saturday’s loss to the Bulls.

“Not just today but from the start of the week, that was (coach Brad) Thorn’s main point for us…to switch on mentally,” Kerevi said.

“The boys did that from the start of Sunday, as soon as we started recovering and into this week so thanks to the coaching staff for getting us in the right mindset.”

After a promising start to the season, the Sharks have dropped consecutive home games to fall from the top of the South Africa conference.

The visitors opened the scoring in the second minute following hooker Alex Mafi’s charge deep into Sharks territory, the Reds probing in attack until Hegarty eased through a gap to score under the posts.

The Sharks searched for a quick reply but the Reds weathered the storm before doubling their advantage, Kerevi breaking the defensive line and finding Feauai-Sautia in support for the five-pointer.

The home side struck back in the 25th minute with Kerron van Vuuren driving over from close range but wasted a pair of golden opportunities to draw level approaching halftime, then suffered a blow after the restart with flanker Jacques Vermeulen leaving the field following a bruising hit from Mafi.

With the Sharks’ error count rising, the Reds were rewarded after 60 minutes as Kerevi’s offload sparked a slick attacking move that saw halfback Tate McDermott dash over for a 21-7 advantage.

Reserve back Jock Campbell could have put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute but he was unable to handle a cross kick from Kerevi with the line wide open.

The Sharks came close to snatching a draw when No.8 Dan du Preez crossed in the 79th minute before advancing the ball into Reds territory on the final play but flanker Liam Wright forced a turnover to end the contest.

AAP

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The 15-year record broken by the Reds