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Reds overtake Blues in 68 point thriller

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Article Published: Saturday 14 May 2011|

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The Reds moved back to the top of the Super Rugby standings when they beat the Blues 37-31 with a bonus point in Brisbane.

Sixty eight points including eight tries were scored in the match which was decided by two penalties from Quade Cooper.

While the Reds moved to the top of the standings the Blues kept alive as they took two bonus points from the match after Rene Ranger scored an extra time bonus point try.

Luke McAlister kicked the conversion to earn a losing bonus point for the Auckland based Super Rugby franchise.

The Reds have a bye next weekend while the Blues head back to Auckland for another top of the table clash against the Stormers.

The Blues went into the match as Super rugby's leading team but now trail the Reds by just a point thanks to their two bonus points.

Earlier in the match it looked like the Blues were in for a hiding as the Reds went out to a 24-0 lead before the Blues starting hitting back.

Tries from Chris Lowrey and Lachie Munro in the space of three minutes got the Blues back in the game before Cooper extended the Reds lead with a penalty just before the whistle for a half time score of 27-14.

With 20 minutes left on the clock hooker James Hanson blocked an attempted clearing kick by Stephen Brett and regathered the ball to score the Reds bonus point try.

Cooper's conversion of Hanson's try gave the Reds a 10-point cushion and then a long-range penalty with 11 minutes left increased the margin to 13 points which left the Blues with the difficult task of scoring two converted tries in the closing minutes.

The Reds led 24-0 after 35 minutes thanks in part to Cooper's try inside the first five minutes.

The flyhalf finished with 22 points after kicking four conversions and three penalties - seven from seven - and also made several key tackles late in the match.

Both sides produced brilliant attacking displays in front of a crowd of 30,041 which saw the Reds win their 11th straight home match.

The Blues had not lost a game in nine matches and scored 24 points in 20 minutes either side of halftime to be ahead by just 27-24 midway through the second half.

After the match Cooper paid credit to Wallabies winger Digby Ioane, who played a key offensive role.

"He's just a freak, the amount of ball he carries and the amount of meters he gets," Cooper said of Ioane.

Blues captain Keven Mealamu said they never thought they were out of the match despite trailing 24-0. They were behind 27-14 at halftime.

"We thought we had a chance despite the deficit," said Mealamu.

"We came out of it with a few competition points, which was good. And we learned a lot about our ability to come back."

Final Score Reds 37 Blues 31

Scorers

Reds
Tries - Q Cooper, S Faingaa, S Higginbotham, J Hanson
Pen - Q Cooper 3
Con - Q Cooper 4
Drop -
Cards -

Blues
Tries - C.Lowrey, L Munro, A Mathewson, R Ranger
Pen - L McAlister
Con - L McAlister 4
Drop -
Cards

Match Officials.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Lesczcynski (Australia)

Teams

Reds :1. Ben Daley, 2. Saia Faingaa, 3. James Slipper, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. James Horwill (c), 6. Scott Higginbotham, 7. Beau Robinson, 8. Radike Samo, 9. Will Genia (vc), 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Digby Ioane, 12. Ben Tapuai, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 14. Luke Morahan, 15. Ben Lucas,

Replacements : 16. James Hanson, 17. Guy Shepherdson, 18. Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19. Jake Schatz, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Will Chambers, 22. Dom Shipperley

Blues: 1. Tevita Mailau,2. Keven Mealamu (Capt),3. John Afoa,4. Anthony Boric,5. Ali Williams,6. Chris Lowrey,7. Luke Braid,8. Peter Saili,9. Alby Mathewson, 10.Stephen Brett,11.Rene Ranger,12. Luke McAlister,13. Benson Stanley,14. Joe Rokocoko,15.Jared Payne

Replacements :16.Tom McCartney (FR),17.Pauliasi Manu (FR),18.James King,19.Sean Polwart,20.Chris Smylie,21.Lachie Munro,22 .Sherwin Stowers

 
 
 
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