Queensland Reds

Review Highlanders v Reds

Review Highlanders v Reds

The Reds had their first win of the year in a scrappy match against the Force whilst the Highlanders went down to the Crusaders in a hard fought battle in Dunedin. James O’Connor gets the cursed 10 jersey this week and there are plenty of Aussie fans eager to see how he will go after his enforced 18 months in European rugby.

The Match

In the first couple of minutes it seemed like business as usual for the Reds with two ruck penalties firstly gifting the Highlanders field position, then three points. The Highlanders had plenty of possession but couldn’t take further advantage. The Reds managed to get the ball and O’Connor  immediately showed his class running the Reds deep into Highlanders territory. The Reds won a penalty off the first scrum of the game and O’Connor steered the kick between the posts to even the score.

The Reds were playing with tremendous width and it was starting to pay off with metres gained down both touchlines. It all came to nothing with the Highlanders eventually securing the pill and the reds once again leaking ruck penalties and points. Marty Banks slotted two penalties in as many minutes to stretch the lead to 9-3.

The second 20 minutes of the first half was pretty scrappy. The Reds continued to leak ruck penalties but luckily the Highlanders weren’t able to take advantage. Neither team dominated in any area although the Reds lineout looked a little shaky without Horwill and Simmons.

The Highlanders flew out of the blocks in the second half and ended up with a lineout five metres from the Reds tryline. The Reds tied the ball up from the resulting maul, then won a free kick from the resulting scrum. The scrum had been messy all night and the referee blew a free kick or penalty at nearly every one.

The Reds scored off another scrappy scrum when the ball shot out the back and Jake Schatz won the race for the ball from Will Genia. From there he had a clear run to the line with the Highlanders concentrating on Genia instead of him.

The Reds gave up the almost predictably ruck penalty almost immediately and surrendered the lead with it. All the highlanders points so far have came from ruck penalties. That part of their game is costing them dearly

The Highlanders scored in the right corner with Naholo taking on four Reds defenders and planting the ball down in what was a very good display of wing work. The conversion was missed but that put the Highlanders in front 17-10 with ten minutes to go.

The Highlanders had all the running for the next ten minutes and the Reds were trapped deep in their own half. Eventually the Reds gave away yet another ruck penalty and young Hayden Parker stepped up and calmly kicked the penalty to try and deny Queensland a losing bonus point.

The Reds managed to slot a long range penalty from O’Connor seconds before the final whistle to salvage a bonus point. Both teams showed glimpses of the teams they could be but those glimpses were too few and too far apart with the Highlanders running out deserving winners 20-13.

The Game Changer

With no significant turning point in the match my game changer is the Reds penchant to give away penalties at the ruck. They did manage to reduce their penalty count to 11, three better than last years average and a massive improvement on Round 1’s 17.


No one stood out in this match. The Smith’s played with their usual aplomb, Fekitoa looked dangerous. For the Reds James O’Connor looked dangerous but faded a little, Will Genia had his best game in a long time. But my award goes to Marty Banks who kicked four from five and steered his team around the park very well.

Wallaby watch

Will Genia and James O’Connor have already been mentioned but no one else put their name up for higher honours. Genia ran, passed and kicked well to put in an early nomination for the team of the week while O’Connor stepped ran and kicked well but didn’t provide the focus the Reds needed at flyhalf.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Highlanders: 20

Tries: Waisake Naholo
Penalties: Marty Banks 4/5 Hayden Parker 1/1

Reds: 13

Tries: Jake Schatz
Conversions: James O’Connor 1/1
Penalties: James O’Connor 2/3

Cards & Citings


Queensland Reds

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

More in Queensland Reds