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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Defending champion Reds blown away by the Sharks in Brisbane

The Sharks lived up to their reputation of being a strong travelling side as they beat the Reds 30-17 in Brisbane to set up a Super Rugby semi final clash with the Stormers in Cape Town next weekend. The Final will be a New Zealand vs South Africa affair.

The Sharks played an expansive game and reaped rewards as they got off to a 17-0 lead following great tries from JP Pietersen and Paul Jordaan. Scrumhalf Charl Macleod then scored an intercept try early in the second half.

The Reds did their best to get back into the game but injury disruptions and some incredible defence from the visitors meant that the home side were knocked out of the competition. 

Will Genia said after the game that he felt a strange call from the TMO and referee left them without a certain try, which could have perhaps been a turning point in the game. As it was, the visitors were the better side on the night, and can look forward to a South African derby semi final.

"It was an epic game of rugby and the tempo was right there from the off," said captain Keegan Daniel of the win at a venue where the Reds had been victorious in 21 of 23 previous occasions. 

The Reds were the top Australian side so had the home qualifier, which means the Sharks' travel schedule has become quite significant. They flew from South Africa to Australia, now will fly back home and if they beat the Stormers, will then need to fly back to New Zealand for the final.

"I'm so proud of my guys to win away from home like that," said coach John Plumtree. "It was always going to be a big effort, the Reds are an outstanding side. We knew they would come to this game with a great deal of belief and with a big crowd behind them."

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