Qld Reds overrun Lions in Johannesburg - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld Reds overrun Lions in Johannesburg

Jim Morton 03/04/2011 05:26:34 PM Comments (0)

The dazzling Queensland Reds have fortified their belief they can unlock Super Rugby's unbeaten pace-setting Stormers by digging themselves out of a massive Johannesburg ditch on Sunday morning (AEDT).

In the blunt words of coach Ewen McKenzie, the Reds were in a "big hole" at 11-0 down to the improving Lions with skipper James Horwill in the sin-bin but managed to show their improving maturity for a tense 30-25 triumph.

While Horwill was cooling his heels, his 14-man team outscored the Lions 10-0 to launch a comeback built on flashes of signature flair and a cool-headed field position game.

It was the first time in nine years Queensland have succeeded in winning four straight Super matches and also kept their unbeaten Ellis Park record intact.

But McKenzie knows they now face a moment of truth in Cape Town against a Stormers outfit which has conceded just four tries in their six victories.

While the Reds sit second on the overall standings and top the Australian conference, there's no escaping the fact their five wins have come against bottom seven teams.

Their only defeat came at the hands of the Waratahs in round two and the next three weeks - playing the Stormers, defending champion Bulls and NSW again - will prove a true gauge of their title credentials.

McKenzie admitted the Reds must fix their ill-discipline - which led to two first-half yellow-cards and countless penalties - and poor handling under the high ball to challenge the Stormers.

"You can't go far in the comp if you put yourself under that sort of pressure," he told AAP. "Given all that, we worked our way out of a big hole so I'll take positives out of that bit anyway.

"There's plenty for us to look at but I'll take the win and just soldier on.

"It gives us a good opportunity now to really attack the Stormers' game next week."

While playmaker Quade Cooper continued his electric form against South African opponents and tackle-shedding three-quarter Digby Ioane was a handful in the midfield, there was a potential sting in the tail for the Reds.

Prop James Slipper faces a SANZAR judicial hearing on Monday night (AEST) after being cited for a dangerous lifting tackle on Lions hooker Bandisa Maku which saw him sin-binned in the sixth minute.

Both Lions tries resulted from spilt bombs as the Reds, particularly new fullback Mike Harris, were bamboozled by the flight of the ball at altitude.

Ioane dropped the second just moments into the second half which handed the Lions a 19-10 lead but tries to Cooper and then Ioane from sustained attack, plus a six-from-six goalkicking return by Harris including a 54m monster penalty, put them 30-19 clear with 13 minutes left.

Harris may keep the goalkicking duties ahead of Cooper at Newlands but must be more reliable at the back.

"It was a big ask because we threw him into fullback and he had to learn a lot in a week," McKenzie said. "He was under a fair bit of pressure and it wasn't his finest hour under the high ball but he did a fine job with the boot, kicked some good goals and that was the difference for us."

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