The Queensland Reds have beaten reigning champions the Chiefs 31-20 in Toowoomba to get their Super Rugby pre-season off to a strong start.
The Queensland Reds made an impressive start to their Super Rugby pre-season on Saturday night with a 31-20 win against reigning champions the Chiefs in Toowoomba.
The Reds came under heavy criticism when they crossed the tryline just 31 times in their 2013 Super Rugby campaign, ranking them 12th best in the competition.
But if their first-up trial form is anything to go by, scoring tries might come a little easier in 2014.
In front of a crowd of 7438, the Reds crossed for four tries against the champion Chiefs who are aiming for a third straight title this year.
Queensland spread the ball at every opportunity and looked sharp, particularly when Quade Cooper and Will Genia were together calling the shots.
Three of the Reds’ tries came in the first half as they jumped out to a 24-8 halftime lead.
Waratahs recruit Lachie Turner had the Reds off to a flying start, crossing for his first four-pointer in Queensland colours after just two minutes.
Aiden Toua had put Turner into space and it was the Reds’ fullback who again helped the Reds stretch their lead to 10-0 when he burst through the Chiefs’ defence, kicked ahead and then forced a Chiefs turnover, ultimately leading to a Reds penalty.
The Chiefs took until the 15th minute to open their account when Ihaia West darted over from a scrum win.
Centre Mike Harris crossed for the Reds’ second try on the stroke of quarter-time and prop Ben Daley added a third 10 minutes later. A sideline conversion by Cooper ensured the Reds stretched their lead to 24-8 at the break.
It was the Chiefs who made the better start to the second half, with All Blacks forward Sam Cane crossing for the Chiefs’ second try in the 48th minute.
The Reds continued to spread the ball and Chris Feauai-Sautia scored six minutes later.
Some sustained pressure from the Chiefs, on the back of successive penalties, allowed them to go over for their third try in the 64th minute.
Queensland coach Richard Graham said the game had provided a snapshot of how the Reds wanted to play.
“I thought it was a good hitout for us. I thought we played some really good rugby in patches,” Graham said.
“We had a strong focus on the way we wanted to go about our business.
“The thing I was most pleased with was probably our discipline in field position.”
Graham said the Reds would look back at the video after giving up a number of penalties, particularly in attack.
“That certainly is a concern for us.
“I thought when we conceded points, it was generally on the back of a penalty so that was something we have to go back and fix.
“I thought we played with a lot of ambition but, if you’re going to play that way, you have to have men at the breakdown.”