Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders beat Reds

The Queensland Reds couldn’t produce the 80-minute performance required to extend their Super Rugby Pacific season.

The Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific season is over after failing to deliver in “money time” in Christchurch against the clinical Crusaders.

Crippled by a lack of discipline which handed the grateful hosts 16 penalties, the Reds were beaten 37-15 in Friday night’s quarter-final.

The defeat was the conclusion of a horror end-of-season run for the Queenslanders.

Having won seven of their first eight games, the Reds proceeded to lose six of their final seven matches to crash out in the first week of the finals series.

The Reds’ inability to beat teams from the New Zealand section of the competition – apart from cellar dwellers Moana Pasifika – cost them dearly and is something Queensland must improve on to contend in future seasons.

The Queenslanders were at least gallant in their quarter-final defeat, and at one stage reduced the Crusaders’ lead to just one point in the second half,

But the ongoing concession of penalties, as well as the Crusaders’ total domination of the scrums, allowed the hosts to run away with the win in the latter stages of the contest.

“The guys brought plenty of fight, they wore the Queensland jersey with pride, they went toe-to-toe, but credit to the Crusaders – they got the job done,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.

“How many times do you see sides right in it with 20 minutes to go? That’s money time.

“Good sides make the most of those opportunities.”

Such were the Reds’ scrum problems that tighthead prop Feao Fotiaika was hooked after just 34 minutes, being replaced by Sef Fa’agase.

Despite giving away several penalties and being overpowered in scrums, the Reds only trailed by eight points at half-time.

Crusaders fullback Will Jordan scored the game’s first try in the 15th minute, but Queensland replied 10 minutes through winger Suliasi Vunivalu.

The Reds started the second-half with great intent and were rewarded with a try to winger Filipo Daugunu in the 43rd minute.

It came from a set play following a lineout win, with Daugunu injecting himself into the backline to score on the opposite side of the field.

Lawson Creighton converted a tough kick to reduce the Crusaders’ lead to just one point.

However, Creighton blew a golden opportunity to give Queensland the lead four minutes later when he sprayed a penalty kick wide from in front of the posts.

The Crusaders then took charge, scoring the game’s final three tries, including a classy effort from winger Sevu Reece, to seal a semi-final berth.

There was a late injury scare for the Reds when halfback Tate McDermott left the field on a medi-cab after suffering a knock to the head.

However, he recovered to be walking around after the game,

“He got knocked out cold. It’s not pleasant seeing those ones, but that’s part of the game,” Thorn said.

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