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Mckenzie praises Reds character against Blues

Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie

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Article Published: Saturday 27 April 2013|

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Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie has praised the Reds character after they became the first Australian team in Super Rugby history to record a regular season clean sweep over New Zealand opposition.

The Reds beat the Blues 12-11 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday which completed the set of New Zealand teams in their fixture list.

The Reds have now accumulated 18 of a possible 20 competition points from their four matches against New Zealand sides in 2013.

The Reds position comes on the back of a successful three-game stretch throughout April in which they have beaten New Zealand Conference leaders the Chiefs and Blues and drew with Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies.

Flyhalf Quade Cooper scored all 12 points for the Reds in their enthralling victory over the Blues with a pressure penalty goal in the 73rd minute giving the Reds a one point lead which they would defend valiantly for the remainder of the match.

In a high-paced encounter with minimal kicking, the Blues threw everything at the Reds throughout the contest but Queensland's defence responded to produce one of their best displays of the season to repel the visitors as they made one final surge in the dying stages of the game.

"We've played the top three teams in the past three weeks and we've come away with two wins and a draw. We are happy with that bit, " McKenzie said.

"Getting the record against the Kiwi sides is important as well, but from a competition point of view, the Blues are a pretty difficult team to play, so I'm glad we have that one out of the way. "

Cooper and scrumhalf Will Genia produced strong games in guiding the Reds to their seventh win of the Super Rugby season while captain James Horwill and prop James Slipper were standouts among the forwards.

However, it was the efforts of the bench which drew high praise from McKenzie postgame, after all seven replacements were injected into the match during the second half.

"It was taxing but we hung in there well enough to not allow the score to blowout and in the last 10 or 15 minutes I thought our bench gave us really good value. "

"We were able to turn the tables and they started making errors. That was the difference, " McKenzie said.

"It wasn't our finest game technically, but it was good in terms of character. "

"That's what the game is about. It's a 22 man contribution sometimes and it was definitely that tonight. "

"We ended the game with no guys on the bench, and that was necessary, because the guys put a lot of effort in. "

The Reds will travel to Perth to play the Western Force next Saturday before returning to Suncorp Stadium on Friday 10 May to take on South African heavyweights and 2012 Super Rugby finalists, the Sharks.

 
 
 
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