McKenzie concerned by weak defence
March 4, 2012
While the Reds' attack play caught the eye, their defence was found wanting at times against Western Force © Getty Images
Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was furious with his side's display despite watching them beat Western Force 35-20, admitting the team's "soft defence" is a huge concern.
Leading by 17 at half-time, the Reds were forced to overcome an early two-try second-half salvo from the visitors, before recomposing to close out on level pegging and take the result on the back of a nine-goal haul from Mike Harris at a rain-soaked Suncorp Stadium.
McKenzie admitted starting the season with two wins was an improvement on the Reds' successful last two seasons, but revealed the short lapse in concentration after half-time was what he could be focusing on in the coming.
"[It was] soft defence. We were disappointing. We talked about what we needed to do after half-time, taking the game out of their reach, but we let them straight back in," said McKenzie.
"We were really disappointed. That five-minute patch or 10-minute patch is probably where we'll focus our attention."
Reds were still able to win by more than two converted tries in conditions that should have played into their opponents' favour, but vice-captain Will Genia admitted they owed a debt of gratitude to Harris, who equalled the state record for successful kicks in a game previously held by John Eales.
"We have a lot of confidence in [Harris]. You see him at training and he's a natural goal-kicker," said Genia.
"When he's lining them up, you pretty much stand on the 22, based on how he's been hitting them."
"It's very reassuring to have a kicker [like Harris] there, because you're almost guaranteed three points and you just keep building a lead and putting pressure on the scoreboard."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry