Super Rugby - Australian conference
Reds retain Bob Templeton Cup
February 23, 2013
Ben Tapuai celebrates his second try that secured victory
© Getty Images
Queensland Reds defeated bitter interstate rivals New South Wales Waratahs 25-17 at Suncorp Stadium, the game ultimately won in a five-minute spell early in the first half even though they iced the victory only in the final quarter.
The hosts showed the benefit of having already played a game - even though they were defeated comprehensively by the Brumbies in Super Rugby round one - and they were more switched on from the opening whistle, even though Waratahs halfback Brendan McKibbin opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty goal.
Dominic Shipperley, the winger who secured victory in the round-one fixture last season in such dramatic fashion, opened the Reds' scoring with a fifth-minute converted try, and Queensland looked set to run away with the fixture when Ben Tapuai crossed for another converted try just four minutes later.
Quade Cooper held up a pass just long enough to send Shipperley on his way for the opener, but Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau should have done better in defence as the winger crashed through them.
The Waratahs looked shaken by the early assault, and prop Sekope Kepu inexplicably threw a pass off the ground near the halfway line that went straight to Tapuai, who streaked away for Queensland's second five-pointer.
Queensland and New South Wales each have much to take out of the match
Both tries were converted by Mike Harris, who also landed a simple penalty goal after to secure a 17-3 lead after 15 minutes.
But the Reds failed to press the advantage, and the Waratahs worked their way back into the game in terms of possession only to cruel themselves with mistakes.
McKibbon missed two kickable penalties before the Waratahs, who enjoyed a bye in round one, went close to reducing the deficit in the minutes before half-time.
Kane Douglas charged down a kick from Cooper approaching the halfway line and set off for the Queensland try line, but he knocked on under pressure from the Reds playmaker when trying to ground the ball.
New South Wales finally scored a try eight minutes after half-time, when they carried the ball from inside their own half before Bernard Foley passed to Israel Folau in space for an easy debut five-pointer.
The Waratahs were dominating play, but equally they continued to be their own worst enemies in terms of ball security before Super Rugby debutant Ben Volavola, a second-half substitute for Ashley-Cooper, scythed through the Reds defence in the 58th minute for the team's second converted try to level the scores.
The Reds were under the pump from a Waratahs outfit that could rely on plenty of forward power off the bench, but the hosts stemmed the blue tide and finally enjoyed some of the possession they used so well in the first half.
The Waratahs eventually cost themselves once too often, Harris landing a go-ahead goal after Lopeti Timani conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck just five minutes after replacing Wycliff Palu.
And the Reds secured the win when Tapuai crossed for his second try after a tackle-busting breakaway run from backrower Ed Quirk.
They edged in front again courtesy of a Harris penalty from half a metre inside the halfway line.
Tapuai then scored the try of the match for Queensland, following a barnstorming run from blindside Ed Quirk. The Reds forced a turnover with powerful counter-rucking and Quirk powered through five Waratahs before he was mowed down by Folau. Tapuai was on hand for the offload, though, and he dived over to secure a buffer the Waratahs didn't have the energy to reclaim.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd with Sportal
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