The Reds managed 30 minutes of amazing rugby a week ago. Can they build on that base or was it a beautiful mirage? The Sharks have had nearly as bad a season as the Reds but the luck hasn’t fallen their way. This looks like a crucial match for both teams. The Sharks look to take a win away from the Australasian tour and the Reds trying to earn back respect.
The game started slowly as the Reds spent most of the first five minutes in the Sharks half. They had two good opportunities to score but knocked on both times. There was a lot of feeling out with the only points in the first 15 minutes of the game coming from an offside penalty right in front after James O’Connor’s clearance kick was charged down.
Stefan Ungerer scored the first try of a pretty slow game when he ran down the blind off a sharks scrum 25 metres out. Thomson was slow off the scrum in defence and that was all the space the young scrum half needed to go the distance.
Samu Kerevi burst through the Sharks defensive line on the Reds 22 and cut their midfield to pieces. JP Pieterson batted the ball from Liam Gill’s flick pass but Kerevi picked up the loose ball and eventually Kuridrani picked up his first try in the left corner. The Reds try went through nine sets of hands with every backrow member handling at least once.
The Reds probably had the best of the play in the first half but, they gave away eight penalties and produced eight handling errors keeping the Sharks not only in the game but clearly in the lead. Frans Steyn kicked penalties off three of the reds penalties and the Sharks were cruising at 16 – 7.
The game started the second half the same as the First half finished. The Sharks look to be protecting their lead and the Reds looked good in attacked until they eventually found a way to turn the ball over.
47 minutes in the Reds scrum came good and won a penalty from the sharks on the half way line. They kicked for a lineout and drove for the line before the maul was sacked. The Reds went into their pick and go mode until Genia hit Kerevi a couple metres out with a flat pass. The big centre had a head of steam and never looked like not scoring. O’Connor converted to make the score 16 – 14 to the Sharks.
60 minutes in and the Sharks look very tired but they still lead the game and the Reds are still gifting them possession. The next ten minutes was uneventful until the Reds set up a ruck inside their 22 and looked to kick for touch through James O’Connor. He badly miss hit the kick straight into Stefan Ungerers hands who accepted the gifted try.
The Game Changer
This game went the same way from start to finish. the Reds tried to play attacking rugby but kept giving up the ball. While the Sharks look tired and were happy to score off the scraps the Reds offered up.
The G&GR MOTM
Do I have to give one? No one rom the Sharks stood out to me and the only Red to look the goods was Samu Kerevi. He’s my man of the match
Samu Kerevi may be the only Red to put his hand up for higher honours. When he runs with the ball it looks like he’s covered in spiders and no one wants to touch him. Greg Holmes started poorly but improved as the game went on.
Score & Scorers
[one_half last=”no”]Queensland Reds: 14
Tries: Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi
Conversions: James O’Connor 2
[one_half last=”yes”]Natal Sharks: 21
Tries: Stefan Ungerer 2
Conversions: Frans Steyn
Penalties: Frans Steyn 3[/one_half]
Cards & citings