Monday, April 19, 2010
The Queensland Reds leaped into the top four of the Super 14 on Saturday when they beat the Bulls 19-12 in a highly entertaining match in front of 26,669 fans at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
It was only the second defeat of the Bulls campaign but the defending champions were their own worst enemy at times, making uncharacteristic errors as they were unable to find an answer for the persistent running game of an inspired Reds side.
The Bulls are still on track for that all important home semi final though, ending round ten in joint first position with the Crusaders, with the Canterbury men in pole position due to a superior points difference.
The Reds, coached by axed Stade Francais coach Ewen McKenzie, are now serious title contenders with just four weeks left in the tournament.
"All credit to the players," said McKenzie. "We had a very specific game plan and they went out and tried their best to make it happen. They did a really good job and showed plenty of character and application.
"We didn't want to give them the ball, so we had to find ways to be creative. It's hard to play 80 minutes without giving them the ball, but that was our intention and we did pretty well.
"We didn't give them the line-outs that they wanted to play and set up their game with. For long periods of time we didn't give them the chance to play the structured game that they like to play and then they got tired from making a lot of tackles."
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was unable to fault his teams commitment and instead praised the quality of the Reds team, who scored tries through Scott Higginbotham and Rod Davies.
"The Reds played fantastically. They took us almost out of the game in terms of possession. It's a very expansive style, but their retention was spot on. Definitely one of the best continuity performances I've seen in a long time and they deserved to win."
It was a well deserved match for the Reds and their loyal fans, who were over the moon at the final whistle. Phil Kearns summed up the feeling in the ground when he said "There's blokes in private boxes up here patting each other on the butts!"
Great match for the neutral, with some brilliant tries and excellent defense from both sides, particularly the Reds in the closing stages. Enjoy the extended highlights.