Any win over Waratahs great: McKenzie
February 24, 2013
Ben Tapuai's second try secured victory for Queensland © Getty Images
Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie praised his side's aggression and overall improvement after they defeated New South Wales Waratahs 25-17 in an entertaining encounter at Suncorp Stadium.
McKenzie accepted that his side had made plenty of errors in the game, but he predicted that would become less of a problem as the season progressed.
Queensland raced to a 17-3 lead against their arch rivals inside the first 15 minutes, with tries from Dominic Shipperley and Ben Tapuai, but the Waratahs came back firing after halftime to level the scores through flashy backs Israel Folau and Ben Volavola.
Just when momentum seemed well and truly with the visitors, the Reds hit back with a penalty and a late try, Tapuai's second following a superb Ed Quirk run, to seal the derby win.
"Any win against New South Wales is a great win," McKenzie said.
"I was really pleased with the aggression and the intent.
"We got out to a good lead, we definitely missed opportunities, but that's the nature of the game. We made errors, they made errors.
"There was some good defence out there from both sides, but I thought we did a really good job and we stuck at it for as long as we needed to, and came up with the third try and sealed the game."
Queensland and New South Wales each have much to take out of the match
The Reds coach said his charges should have killed off the game after taking a 14-point lead early, but rustiness was understandable so early in the season.
"I thought we should have gone in at half time much better on the scoreboard," he said. "What does that say? Credit to their defence I guess. We're still making a few errors. I predict that we'll get better at that as we go along. It was better today, better than last week.
The crucial elements are in place for a successful season for the 2011 Super Rugby champions, as soon as some of the off-season cobwebs are shaken off, McKenzie said.
"We're certainly better in the physical stakes, I thought some of our tackling was of the highest order. Best I've seen, some of it," he said. "That's a sign of attitude, so if you've got that, you've got something to work with. The skill bit, we can definitely take better options, and that will come with more work, and more exposure."
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