Queensland Reds 19 - 15 Waratahs

 

A brilliant individual performance from Quade Cooper and a tremendous defensive effort helped the Reds record their seventh consecutive win of the season, in fierce contest against arch rivals the Waratahs.

Cooper opened the scoring after six minutes with a simple penalty to make it 3-0, the Reds quickly settled into their rhythm and counter attacked well from some sloppy kicking by the Waratahs.

But a bad mistake by winger Luke Morahan, led to a scrum and after a good shove by the Waratahs they were awarded a penalty and fly-half Kurtley Beale levelled the scores at 3-3. Just two minutes later New  South Wales found themselves ahead thanks to another Beale penalty, and the visitors were starting to establish themselves.

But after 19 minutes the Waratahs and Australia suffered a massive blow, winger Drew Mitchell who has been in superb form this season suffered a dislocated ankle when chasing a kick. The injury saw Mitchell leave the field on a stretcher and has ruled him out of the World Cup in September.

After the break in play both sides were slow to get back into the game, Will Genia once again showed his class with some superb kicking into the corners but the Reds were frustrated by the Waratahs defence, who were forcing mistakes from the league leaders. Beale once again extended the lead with another penalty after 28 minutes.

But with 10 minutes to go in the half, the game turned into the Quade Cooper show. First of all the fly-half brought his side back within three points with a penalty.

Then on after 33 minutes a scrum just inside the Waratahs half, saw the ball reach Cooper who threw a brilliant dummy and cut right through the defence before stepping round the outstretched arms of Beale and scoring a sensational individual try. His celebration wasn't too shabby either and definitely matched Digby Ioane's effort from last week, he added the extras to make the score 13-9.

The right on half-time Cooper completed his full house with a drop goal that gave the Reds a seven point advantage at the break, 16-9.

The second half was a completely different story. Straight from the kick off the Reds found themselves defending deep inside their own 22 and defending for their lives. After 5 minutes of the second period Beale added hid fourth penalty to make it 16-12.

A good break and kick from Toulouse bound scrum-half Luke Burgess earned the Waratahs a scrum five metres from the Queensland line, and after two penalties for collapsing it seemed certain that the Reds were going to concede a penalty try, but a powerful shove won them the ball and allowed the brief rest-bite from the Waratahs pack.

On the hour mark New South Wales once again had a scrum five metres out, but a slick move from the backs was snuffed out by the Reds defence who forced full-back Lachie Turner into touch. The pressure from the Waratahs was growing with every minute, but they couldn't make their dominance in the scrum count and the Reds were able to just hang on and slow the ball down.

The Tahs thought they had the ball down over the line after a rolling maul, but the TMO could not see the ball being grounded and the try was disallowed. The visitors were awarded another penalty close to the line but this time Beale went for goal and closed the gap to just a single point.

But it was Cooper who had the final say in the game in the 77th minute after he landed a superb penalty from 45 metres out to make the score 19-15.

The Waratahs will be wondering how they didn't claim a victory at the Suncorp Stadium, they were dominant in the second half but went for the scrum to often instead of taking the three points. But credit has to go to the Reds defence which was solid all night, and they proved that they can win playing exhilarating rugby or by grinding out a win and that is a valuable skill to have in this competition.

Full Time - Queensland Reds 19 - 15 Waratahs

Man of the Match

Quade Cooper

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