Greg Holmes led Force out in his 150th Super Rugby appearance, over 100 of them for the Queensland Reds.
The Reds came out of the blocks strongly, with Tate McDermott scoring the first try for Reds from a dominant scrum
The Force struck back through their own scrum penalty, converted by Jake McIntyre
The Reds then looked to have butchered at try with Jock Campbell not passing to an unmarked Suliasi Vunivalu, however Hunter Paisami barged over from the breakdown, as Sean Maloney called it “Running out of defenders to run at before surrendering to the try line”
The Reds looked to be gaining control, however the Force hit back through a pick & drive try from Feleti Kaitu’u, converted by McIntyre. They then went close to scoring again just before half-time, before losing the ball over the line, however McIntyre reduced the margin to just one from a penalty advantage in an earlier phase. Half-time score Reds 14 – Force 13
Force then took the lead through a McIntyre penalty, before Hunter Paisami sliced through for a try after a trade-mark show & go.
The Reds put together a couple of pieces of sparkling rugby, with Bryce Hegarty dropping the ball with the line open on one occasion, and Jock Campbell crossing in the other, with Jordan Petaia and Suliasi Vunivali both featuring strongly.
With time running out, and the Force trailing by 7, the last 10 minutes was a tense period. Tim Anstee looked to have broken through a few times, but was brought down. Taniela Tupou was penalized for a high tackle on McIntyre, and the Force were pressuring from the resulting line-out, before Brandon Paenga-Amosa won a turn-over to seal the game.
The Game Changer
The Force’s missed opportunity to take the lead with a try just before half-time. A handy lead going into the 2nd half might have been enough to exert enough pressure on the Reds to get the win.
The G&GR MOTM
Jake McIntyre played his best game of the season so far, and his kicking kept the force in the game. But Hunter Paisami was such a powerful runner in the Reds mid-field, he collects the MOTM as well as 2 tries for his efforts.
Hunter Paisami impressed again, this time in the No. 12 jersey. Suliasi Vunivali is a certainty to be included in a Wallabies squad. Brandon Penga-Amosa also returned from injury. For the Force, their starting front row of Greg Holmes and Tom Robertson were strong. Fergus Lee-Warner continues to impress. Sitaleki Timani and Tevita Kuridrani were strong, but younger alternatives may be on the Wallaby radar.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Paisami 2, McDermott, Campbell
Conversions: O’Connor 3
Penalties: McIntyre 4
Cards & citings
QUEENSLAND REDS (1-15):
Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor (c), Ilaisa Droasese, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell
Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Kalani Thomas, Hamish Stewart, Bryce Hegarty
WESTERN FORCE (1-15):
Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu’u, Greg Holmes, Jeremy Thrush, Sitaleki Timani, Fergus Lee-Warner, Kane Koteka, Brynard Stander (c), Tomas Cubelli, Jake McIntyre, Richard Kahui, Henry Taefu, Tevita Kuridrani, Byron Ralston, Robert Kearney
Jack Winchester, Angus Wagner, Santiago Medrano, Ryan McCauley, Tim Anstee, Ian Prior, Jack McGregor, Marcel Brache