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Reds bitterly disappointed with Force loss

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Reds head coach Nick Stiles says that they are “bitterly disappointed” with their performance against the Force in Perth.

The Queenslanders lost 26-19 to the Western Force in Round 2 after starting the season with a victory over the Force.

Reds head coach Nick Stiles rued his side’s performance, with execution and discipline letting them down.

“We’re bitterly disappointed with our performance. It wasn’t good enough,” Stiles said.

“We knew what they were going to do and to their credit, they executed it well and we got caught playing too much Rugby in our half. Mistakes turned into pressure, which turned into points.

“How we respond from that performance is key. Our actions will speak louder than words.”

In slippery conditions at nib Stadium, the Reds handling was poor and the home side executed a game plan that focused heavily on tactical kicking.

The Reds scrummaged well but the lineout failed to fire as the Force forward pack made a nuisance of themselves in the match. .

After crossing for just the one try in 2016, Eto Nabuli scored a hat-trick (only the second in Queensland’s Super Rugby history) inside the opening 60 minutes but it wasn’t enough for the visitors.

The Reds were forced to chase the game for the second week in a row after Force back Chance Peni sliced through the defensive line to open the scoring inside the opening two minutes.

In the 16th minute, the Reds forward pack marched a rolling maul 20 metres up field before the Force were penalised for collapsing.

Tempted by the previous maul, the Reds kicked to the corner and set for another, sucking in Force defenders before scrumhalf Nick Frisby put Nabuli over.

Adam Korcyzk secured a turnover after the restart and the Reds backline acted quickly, swinging the ball wide to Nabuli who jigged off the left and raced away for his second.

In humid and slippery conditions, both teams struggled to string phases together but the Force managed to level the score after just the one phase when Matthew Phillip found the line with a pick and drive play.

The scores were locked at 12-12 at half time.

Reds inside centre Duncan Pai’aua showed great vision to create Nabuli’s hat-trick, weighting a grubber kick in behind the rushed Force defence.

A sustained period without the ball allowed Force’ replacement Ian Prior to kick two penalty goals and reduce the Reds’ lead to one point in the 66th minute.

After Sef Fa’agase was sent to the sin bin, the Force capitalised, swinging the ball wide to Curtis Rona who dotted down to hand the Force a four-point lead.

Prior sealed the victory for the home side with a late penalty goal.

The Reds’ next game is against the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 11 March.

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