McKenzie denies Reds attack needs overhaul
May 26, 2013
The Stormers scored the only try of the match against Queensland in Cape Town. © Getty Images
Resolute mentor Ewen McKenzie denies the Queensland Reds must overhaul their spluttering attack after ending their disappointing South African tour with just one try and one bonus point.
Sunday morning's (AEST) 20-15 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town has suddenly left the fifth-placed Reds vulnerable in their hunt for a finals berth with three Australian rounds left.
It was an improved performance on their 27-13 failure against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein but Queensland's inability to cross the injury-hit Stormers' line has left the one-time entertainers with just six tries from the past five matches.
Four of those came in one scintillating half against the Sharks.
Rivals now appear to have a far better handle on how to contain dangermen Will Genia and Quade Cooper and the Reds have been unable to create opportunities through other avenues.
But coaching boss McKenzie denied his side had been worked out and staunchly maintained execution errors at key moments were more to blame against the most frugal defensive side in the competition.
"I reckon if we would have played like that last week we would have won," McKenzie told AAP.
Cooper, among the Reds' best, answered a number of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' criticisms in a lively attacking display in which he took the ball to the line and muscled up physically.
He also kicked well in general play and at goal, slotting five penalties in the second half after the Reds were held scoreless in the first despite enjoying the majority of possession.
The mercurial fly-half created three line-break chances in the opening quarter-hour but Rod Davies, James Horwill and Anthony Faingaa all fumbled under pressure to let the Stormers off the hook.
"It came down to one or two things and that was it," McKenzie said.
The most frustrating and costly moment for Queensland came after they fought so well to come back from 11-3 down in the 54th minute to lead 15-14 with 10 minutes left.
Restart receipts had been a problem all match, and Rob Simmons was penalised immediately from the kick-off and Joe Pietersen put the home side back in front.
The Reds had a chance to steal the highly-physical encounter at the death when they relentlessly attacked the Stormers' line, but a desperate pilfer by hooker Tiaan Liebenberg in the 85th minute doused their hopes.
It was only a brilliant set-piece backline try to skipper Jean de Villiers after the break that separated the two best defensive sides in the competition.
Saturday night's clash with the in-form Melbourne Rebels is now a must-win for Queensland (45) as they fight with the Cheetahs (45), Crusaders (42) and Blues (42) for the three wildcard play-off spots.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter