Reds survive Hurricanes' onslaught
March 1, 2013
Rob Simmons and Jeremy Thrush had a battle for lineout supremacy through the match
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Queensland Reds have recorded a hard-fought victory against the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium, hanging on grimly to secure an 18-12 verdict after Digby Ioane and Rob Simmons had scored the only tries in a stop-start fixture.
The match featured few attacking chances, neither team willing to risk possession or position needlessly in the heavy and greasy conditions, and the Reds forwards produced the star turns to fashion the five-pointers.
The pack sucked their opponents into a 23rd-minute ruck inside the Hurricanes 22, then released the ball for half-back Ben Lucas to feed Ioane to squeeze across the tryline past despairing cover defence; then they forced a turnover from a Hurricanes scrum nine minutes into the second period. Replacement half-back Nick Frisby got the loose ball to charging centre Ben Tapuai, and Simmons enjoyed the easy task to rumble over unopposed from the ensuing quick ruck ball.
Quade Cooper missed the conversion, having previously being successful with two penalty goals while Hurricanes fly-half Beaudene Barrett landed four penalties against three misses and a missed drop-goal.
The vaunted Highlanders backline threatened to cut loose only once, after Julian Savea slipped a tackle before feeding TJ Perenara, but the half-back's chip ahead was too strong and beat the chasing pack over the dead-ball line.
But the Hurricanes played a little more loosely in the final quarter, as they chased the victory from six points behind, and they had 100% possession in the final five minutes of the match.
They thought they had pulled within one point when replacement prop Reg Goodes crossed from a short-side lineout move; they were disappointed, however, to see the score ruled out as replacement hooker Motu Matu'u had put a foot in touch.
The visitors continued to attack, and Savea threatened with a chip kick after being put in the clear only to see replacement fullback Luke Morahan force the ball dead. Captain Conrad Smith then celebrated a try after a scrappy piece of play inside the Reds' 22, capitalising on a loose pass from Frisby, only to have the score ruled out for a knock-on by replacement scrum-half Chris Smylie.
The Hurricanes had one final chance after blowing a lineout, when Liam Gill fluffed a kick clear, the ball going straight to Savea who rampaged through the defence before the Reds put a stop to the attack.
Smith was nonplussed by the Hurricanes' inability to score a try.
"I don't really know what to make of it ... it's frustrating," he said. "Both sounds found it was pretty tricky to play, the ball was greasy. It was just a matter of staying down there and the points would come; I thought they would, but somehow, some way, they didn't."
Queensland captain James Slipper had an explanation.
"It's a credit to the squad, how hard we work for each other," he said. "The defence we just put up there was phenomenal."
The defiant Reds held off the fast-finishing Hurricanes.
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