Qld Reds upset Chiefs 23-18 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld Reds upset Chiefs 23-18

05/03/2010 09:29:33 PM Comments (0)

Queensland produced one of their most stunning Super rugby upsets on Friday night with a rousing 23-18 comeback win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Down 15-0 after conceding three tries in the first 20 minutes, the injury-hit Reds fixed their leaking defence and outmuscled the home side to end a five-year drought against the Waikato outfit.

Ewen McKenzie's men, without their classy back three of fullback Peter Hynes and wingers Rod Davies and Digby Ioane as well as skipper James Horwill, were $8 outsiders against the previously-unbeaten Chiefs but rallied courageously around new team leaders Will Genia and Daniel Braid.

Former All Blacks flanker Braid, opposing younger brother Luke, was outstanding in all facets and produced the two pivotal plays which underpinned the shock result.

Trailing 18-16 midway through the second half and with the Chiefs deep in attack, Braid pounced on a Mils Muliaina fumble and hoofed it 50m down field for blazing teenage fullback Luke Morahan to outsprint his rivals, toe ahead and score next to the posts.

The Kiwi back-rower also snuffed out an almost certain late Chiefs try by forcing a penalty from Liam Messam after the Reds soaked up a series of pick and drives on the line.

It was also a long-awaited happy homecoming for mercurial Reds playmaker Quade Cooper, raised in Waikato, who put a poor history and a disastrous start behind him to continually ask questions of the defence and kick five from six efforts with the boot.

It ended up being the difference in the game as opposite number Stephen Donald kicked just one from five attempts at goal.

"We really dug deep and it was an outstanding effort," enthused Genia, whose composure, service and vision were superb.

"Attitude was something we really wanted to change (in our team) and that's shone through with our performance.

"A lot of people questioned our depth but our young guys really stood up."

Without Hynes, Davies and Ioane, it was fitting Morahan, a surprise Wallabies tourist last year, scored the match-winner.

NRL recruit Will Chambers crossed for the Reds other try but his run-on debut was a mixed bag as he was exposed in defence early and botched a try that would have sealed the result earlier.

Both sides went into the round four opener with off-field issues plaguing their franchises with the cash-strapped QRU asking for an ARU bail-out and the Chiefs investigating an incident involving suspended star forward Sione Lauaki.

It promised to be a long night for the Reds when Sitiveni Sivivatu crossed from just the Chiefs' second phase of play after Chambers was caught in no man's land in defence and the All Blacks winger brushed past Cooper and Genia.

As dangerous as ever, Sivivatu then played a major role in a follow-up five-pointer to fellow winger Lelia Masaga from a punishing kick-return.

Nothing was going right for the visitors and when prop Arizona Taumalolo barged over for a third try following a Donald break they trailed 15-0.

But the tide turned and Cooper finally pulled the right rein by holding up a beautiful popped pass for Chambers to cross under the posts for his first Super 14 try.

Even the sin-binning of Brando Va'aulu for a desperate spearing tackle on Sivivatu didn't stop their momentum as the 14-man Reds outscored the Chiefs 6-3 to close the gap to 18-13 at halftime.

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