Reds down Cats in nail-biter




The QR Queensland Reds have stuck it out in a gripping nail-biter to beat the Cats 23-16 in Johannesburg to finish their three-match tour of South Africa on a high.

The Reds hung on for the final 18 minutes of the game with a seven point lead that the Cats threatened to haul in on a number of occasions.

The win put to bed some demons about not being able to finish off the close games and it sets the team up nicely for their next two home games against the Bulls and the Stormers.

Coach Jeff Miller was relieved after the game giving credit to the spirit the team has maintained throughout the tour.

‘We’ve gone close on a number of occasions, but we haven’t been able to get over the line, and they hung in there tonight.’

The Reds were first on the board when Ben Tune put Peter Hynes into a gap with a short ball. Hynes dummied and stepped past the opposition eventually running 35 metres to score just wide of the posts.

Julian Huxley had a perfect night with the boot and gave the visitors a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes.

A penalty goal and a converted penalty try to put the Cats in the lead would have given Reds fans a fright, especially when the penalty try came off a professional foul to Hynes who found himself in the sin-bin for the second week running.

The last fifteen minutes before halftime saw five shots at penalty goal with each team landing two, but Andre Pretorious missed a kick that would have given the Cats a six-point lead.

Instead they went to the break 16-13 ahead.

The second half saw the Reds score 10 unanswered points but the win never looked a certainty.

Man-of-the-match David Croft had a nervous wait before the video referee ruled in his favour and awarded him a try when he barge through the defence.

Huxley put the conversion over and then put the Reds seven points ahead with a penalty goal off the back of a strong Lloyd Johansson break.

There would have been no fingernails left when the Cats were awarded a penalty with just six minutes on the clock, but Pretorious again missed and the Reds came away with the win.

After the match Miller said it was hard to pin down one or two really important moments in the match.

‘I thought our defence was outstanding, they really tested us and by rights could have scored a number of tries,’ he said.

‘But with desperate defence against some very big men I thought, aside from one scrum, the scrum really stood up tonight which was a stark turnaround from last week against the Sharks.’

As well as Croft’s never-say-die effort, another stand out worthy of a mention was hooker Sean Hardman who saw out the match with a strained medial ligament.

The Reds head home on Sunday and arrive back in Brisbane on Monday night to prepare for their next game against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

QR Queensland Reds 23 (Hynes, Croft tries; Huxley 2 conv, 3 pen) defeated Cats 16 (penalty try; Pretorious 1 conv, 3 pen).

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