Reds heaps more pain on Rebels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds heaps more pain on Rebels

Melissa Woods 06/05/2011 10:42:16 PM Comments (0)

It wasn't 50 points but it was just as painful for the Rebels as they fell to the Queensland Reds 33-18 in their Super Rugby clash in Melbourne.

Back in round five the Reds, Australia's top team, dished out the Rebels' worst defeat in their debut season, a 53-3 thrashing.

This AAMI Park loss probably hurt even more.

Rebels goalkicker Julian Huxley missed 10 points worth of kicks when the home side were still in the hunt and, compounding their disappointment, they lost five-eighth James Hilgendorf to a serious ankle injury as he scored their only first-half try in the 29th minute.

Hilgendorf, who only recently returned from a serious shoulder injury, had to be carried from the field and they were unable to call on their other regular playmaker Danny Cipriani because he was out of the game for disciplinary reasons.

Their other chief organiser in attack, veteran Mark Gerrard, only lasted six minutes into the second half before limping off with a calf injury.

The victory marked a return to the winner's circle for the Reds after their shock two-point loss to the Hurricanes, which brought to an end a seven-match winning streak.

Their Test five-eighth Quade Cooper had an off game by his own lofty standards but there was enough class in the Queensland line-up to cover.

The Rebels were actually the better side for the opening 20 minutes but couldn't get across the line.

The visitors scored three tries in the opening half with the first scored by rampaging flanker Scott Higginbotham, who flung aside three would-be defenders on his way to the line.

The Reds' Australian halfback Will Genia set up the following two, popping a ball for No.8 Radike Samo and then kicking a perfect chip across field for rookie winger Dom Shipperley.

With the score 26-8 at halftime, the second half was a more even affair.

Reds centre Scott Harris was yellow-carded for a cynical foul and in his absence Rebels back Afusipa Taumoepeau crossed after Huxley flung him a back-handed pass.

But the visitors sealed the win in the 62nd minute when winger Digby Ioane raced down-field to touch down but this time his trade-mark celebrations were kept on ice.

Rebels winger Peter Betham scored his side's third try in the 75th minute but skipper Stirling Mortlock, who was handed the kicking duties, couldn't convert.

While disappointed with his side's fourth consecutive loss, Rebels coach Rod Macqueen was pleased with some aspects of the performance, namely the work done by the forwards in the set piece and at the breakdown.

"We did a lot of the hard things very well tonight," Macqueen said.

"The work by the Reds at the breakdown has been second to none and we matched them in those areas, but we let ourselves down with the simple things again and with a good side like the Reds, you can't do that."

He also made special mention of skipper Mortlock.

"It was his best game all year, he's an inspiring leader and he had an outstanding game," Macqueen said.

Hilgendorf will undergo scans on Saturday but the coach said "it's not looking too good" and that he would be sidelined for at least a few weeks, missing their two-game tour to South Africa.

While the performance was at times patchy, Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was happy to come away from Melbourne with the points.

He said it was the first time since 1996 that Queensland have won nine games in a Super season.

"We wanted to make sure we came down here and got a result, some teams have come here and done well and some have come here and done very badly," McKenzie said.

"You've got to give credit to the opposition, they got stuck in."

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