Super Rugby

Reds gain revenge over Sunwolves




The Reds beat the 14-man Sunwolves 48-27 in their final game of the season at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

Queensland gained revenge after their 63-28 humiliation in Tokyo, earlier in the campaign.

Eto Nabuli grabbed a brace and Jono Lance, in his final game for the Reds, collected 18 points, including a wonderful try.

For the second week running, the Sunwolves had a player sent off for foul play.

Ed Quirk was red-carded before halftime for a punch on Hamish Stewart with the game in the balance at 24-13 to the hosts.

Brad Thorn’s men took advantage of their extra man.

They dominated the breakdown, controlling possession and finding space in the wide channels to run-in four tries after the sending off, and ease to victory.

The Japanese side did not give up, instead, they kept fighting, scoring two second-half tries of their own.

It is the first time since 2013 that the Reds have won six matches in the season.

Liam Wright, the heir apparent to the legendary George Smith, opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Lance’s jinking run, set-up the attack.

Hayden Parker – who only missed two kicks all season, both conversions – kicked two penalties to bring the scores to within a point.

Nabuli got his first on 23 minutes, finishing off a mammoth 20-phase attack.

The Reds forwards’ pick-and-drove for several phases with Taniela Tupou twice carrying with conviction.

The Sunwolves resistance was futile.

It was the Sunwolves turn to go through the phases.

The effervescent Michael Little charged toward the whitewash.

He attempted an offload, but Duncan Paia’aua deliberately knocked the ball down and the referee had no option but to award a penalty try.

Paia’aua was yellow carded. Lance struck a penalty to make it 17-13 on the half-hour.

Lance could not be kept out of the game. the fullback, with a show-and-go, ghosted through Wimpie van der Walt and Michael Leitch, to score.

The Sunwolves were reeling, but not out of the game by any means, not until Quirk was sent off.

It was a contentious red for a closed fist to Stewart’s face.

It was the TMO, not the referee who referred the decision and Sunwolves skipper Willie Britz was not impressed.

Three minutes’ later, Tupou, having another big game, busted over the whitewash.

The game was all but over, a 16-point deficit is too high a mountain to climb.

Caleb Timu was lucky not to be red carded himself for a dangerous shoulder charge to a head.

Instead, the Reds scored seven points while Timu was in the bin.

Paia’aua, back on, stripped the ball from Leitch and raced away into the Sunwolves 22.

He drew the defenders and gave a basketball over-the-head pop-pass to the supporting Nabuli, who had his brace.

Paia’aua, having a game, waltzed past Leitch in the corner and dotted down for his 6th Super Rugby score of the year.

It was quickly turning into a rout, the Reds unstoppable, scored again.

Moses Sorovi got in on the act.

The halfback darted inside a defender after throwing a dummy and sped away to the try-line. He was tackled short but stretched out to score.

Credit to the Sunwolves, they kept playing, looking for space and some tries of their own.

They got their reward, too.

Little combined with Ryoto Nakamura after some smart thinking for the second.

And Jaba Bregvadze, the big Georgian prop, scored his first Super Rugby try after a burst inside the 22.

Reds versus Sunwolves video highlights.

Final score: Reds 48 (29) Sunwolves 27 (13)


Tries – Wright, Nabuli (2), Lance, Tupou, Paia’aua, Sorovi
Pen – Lance
Con – Lance (5)
Drop –
Cards – Paia’aua, (Yellow, 28′), Timu, (Yellow, 45′)

Tries – Penalty try, Nakamura, Bregvadze
Pen – Parker (2)
Con – Parker (2)
Drop –
Cards – Quirk, (Red, 38′)

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Jordan Way
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore


Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Liam Wright, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith.

Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Adam Korczyk, 22 Moses Sorovi, 23 Teti Tela.

Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Michael Little, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Wimpie van der Walt, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Craig Millar.

Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Kazuki Himeno, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayako, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura.

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