Reds fight hard to win at Stockade
March 8, 2013
Liam Gill produced another great all-round performance in the backrow
© Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels have let slip a half-time advantage for the third time in as many Super Rugby matches this season, Queensland Reds the dominant team in the second stanza to claim a 23-13 victory at AAMI Park.
The Rebels led at the interval after Lachlan Mitchell had scored almost as the whistle was blowing, dotting down by the posts for a converted try to claim a 13-10 lead after being put into a hole on an angled run inside Anthony Faingaa by a delayed short pass from James O'Connor.
But the Reds hit back immediately after the break, and they scored 13 points without reply in the second half.
Digby Ioane made a break from inside his own half before standing up O'Connor to feed Faingaa to feed scrum-half Nick Frisby, who ran through the 22 to cross in the left corner.
Faingaa, earlier, had scored himself, claiming Queensland's first try of the night - the only other five-pointer in the game - after he had stood up Mitchell in the first half to touch down on a run after a rolling maul inside the Rebels' 22.
Ioane was dangerous throughout with ball in hand, showing he remains the Reds' and the Wallabies' go-to man in attack, and Quade Cooper landed the a penalty from 35 metres with 20 minutes to play after Luke Jones had conceded a penalty for a late tackle.
The Rebels dominated possession and territory thereafter, but once again they found they were close but not good enough as the Reds clung on to claim their fifth victory from as many games against the Melbourne team.
The Reds maintained their undefeated record against the Rebels
The Rebels were denied an opportunity to reduce the margin when the TMO reversed a penalty awarded for a high tackle by Radike Samo, judging Rebels hooker Ged Robinson guilty of illegal footwork in the ensuing ruck.
Robinson said after the game that "I wouldn't say I agreed with [the decision] ... I should have probably been a bit more careful", but the TMO was the Rebels' friend immediately thereafter; the official judged that Reds fullback Jono Lance was short with his slide for the stripe, and that Ioane had failed to ground the ball subsequently, after a first-phase move from a lineout after the Samo penalty had been reversed.
The Reds iced their victory when Cooper kicked a goal from in front of the posts after replacement Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville had been pinged for an infringement in the ruck.
Rebels vice-captain Ged Robinson described the team's inability to win after holding a half-time lead as "like the curse of the bambino".
"We talked a lot this week about our second-half-performance," Robinson said. "Don't worry about the scoreboard ,,, and just keep going ... but we lost again."
Reds captain James Slipper said "we still haven't put in an 80-minute performance this year".
"We'll be disappointed with that," Slipper said. "In patches we played well, but overall we let the Rebels in the game, we kept them in the game. We just played in patches, which is not what we wanted to do."
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand
"The days of when one team dominated the championship are a thing of the past, I think it will be even closer next year." The Phil Vickery column
The 2014 Six Nations has been and gone and the tournament has been painted green. Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's talking points
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes