Reds in ruins after third loss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds in ruins after third loss

By Michael Crutcher 08/03/2003 06:33:10 PM Comments (0)

Queensland's Super 12 season is in ruins after the Reds were exposed as genuine strugglers in a disappointing loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Reds were left as the only team without a win after three rounds and the nature of the 43-27 loss suggested the drought wasn't about to end after next weekend's bye.

Andrew Slack admitted his coaching staff would review their methods before the Reds met the powerful Blues in Auckland in two weeks because Queensland looked out of answers on Saturday night.

They led 20-19 at the break but the next 40 minutes were a spluttering mess of handling errors, penalties and defensive lapses that enabled the Chiefs to run in five tries for the match, collecting a bonus point.

"We're disappointed with how we played and there are a lot of heads down in the dressing sheds," Reds captain Elton Flatley said.

"It wasn't a great team performance. Right across the board we were very disappointing.

"Our defence was terrible. We've got a bye next weekend so there is a lot of hard work ahead when he we get back to Brisbane."

The Reds face the task of winning seven of their last eight matches to reach the finals and they're yet to make the long trip to South Africa.

The impressive performance of young centre Gene Fairbanks in his Super 12 debut was a positive point but Slack said it was time to stop identifying "positives" and start winning matches.

Slack said there was more "psychological" scarring than physical problems for the Reds, who added centre Steve Kefu (calf) and lock Rudi Vedelago (ribs) to the injury list which already contained headline acts Toutai Kefu (eye) and Daniel Herbert (knee).

Queensland suffered against a glut of Chiefs possession in the first half but the Reds showed their old-style experience to squeeze two tries in three minutes to Flatley and winger Wendell Sailor.

But the Reds were held dry after Sailor's 26th minute try until the former rugby league winger finished off a consolation try in the final minute.

In between Sailor's double, Chiefs winger Shayne Austin scored two tries, winger Sitiveni Sivivatu again caught the Reds' righthand defence short and captain Jono Gibbes powered over in a forwards' try.

The match flowed well enough but the repeated handling errors and the whistle of South African referee Jonathan Kaplan made it look like a typical clash between two desperate teams.

"It was a pretty loose sort of game, the ball was thrown around a bit, but the Chiefs did it a lot better than us," Flatley said.

"But we'll bounce back."

The Chiefs skipped to a 14-3 lead after 17 minutes following a try to Mark Ranby and three penalty goals to five-eighth David Hill.

But Austin's first try before halftime sparked a 29-0 run for the Chiefs, who were desperate for their first win after losing their opening two matches at home.

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