The Queensland Reds thrashed the Western Force 5-57 in Round Eight of Super Rugby AU at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The Reds went top of Super Rugby AU with a convincing victory over the winless Force, although the Brumbies – play tomorrow – have played two games fewer.
Filipo Daugunu and Tate McDermott both grabbed a brace in the eight-try bonus-point rout.
Fraser McReight also crossed for his maiden Super Rugby try as the Reds ran riot.
James O’Connor and Bryce Hegarty got in on the act as well as the Reds brought up a half-century for the second time against the Western Force.
O’Connor was at the forefront of everything good about Queensland.
The playmaker called the shots from the first receiver position and assisted Daugunu’s second and McRight’s second-half score with an audacious offload.
He also landed eight from nine from the tee for a match-haul of 22 points.
Tuaina Taii Tualima crashed over after the siren to twist the knife – it was a brutal beatdown.
Andrew Ready got the only points of the game for the Force with a 43rd-minute try.
Queensland starts slowly as the Force keep them honest in the early parts of the contest.
Taniela Tupou thought he had opened the scoring in the 14th-minute, but the tighthead prop’s try got chalked off by TMO Brett Cronan for a knock-on in the build-up play.
The prop had an exhilarating game and should have had his try. He made six tackles, destroyed his front row opponents, beat two defenders, ran for 31 metres from seven runs.
He also had a hand in O’Connor’s try when he sent a long pass to the flyhalf to score.
It did not matter because the resulting penalty led to the game’s first try.
Daugunu, who leads the tournament in run metres and tackle busts, opened the scoring in the 16th-minute.
O’Connor took the ball to the gain-line and popped inside to Daugunu, on his inside shoulder, and the winger ran in untouched to score under the posts.
O’Connor added the extras.
Hegarty came on for Hamish Stewart, who left the field with a hip injury, and the utility back’s impact was immediate.
Hegarty combined with O’Connor to set-up Daugunu’s second try on the half-hour with some smart running and offloading between the three backs.
The stand-off missed the touchline conversion but the Reds led 12-0.
O’Connor did, however, became the first player to score a 100 Super Rugby points for three different clubs when he increased the lead to three-scores with a penalty two minutes before half-time.
Western Force strike first after the interval, but the Reds run away with the game as their scrum takes control.
Whatever Tim Sampson said to his troops, it had an effect because his charges came out firing after halftime.
A powerful driving maul three minutes after the break led to Ready flopping over the whitewash to open his side’s account.
Ian Prior pulled the conversion attempt wide, but his team were back in the contest.
The Reds almost pulled the score back, but McReight’s try got taken off the board for a double movement.
It was another let-off for the Perth-based franchise, who need all the luck they can get right now.
Brad Thorn’s team began to turn the screw. Kieran Longbottom got yellow carded on 53 minutes as the Reds’ pack took control of the scrums.
Longbottom’s card was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sampson’s men crumbled. The yellow card cost the Force 14 points and the game.
They wilted as the Reds, who looked like scoring with every attack, flourished.
Several more scrum-penalties almost led to a penalty try; however, the Reds kept the ball in hand and stretched the Force before the pressure told.
McReight, who had earlier had a score chalked off, finally got his maiden Super Rugby try.
It came from a culmination of pressure. O’Connor’s sublime offload in the tackle sent the flanker over the line.
McDermott’s sniping break down the blind-side brought up the bonus-point try and put the game to bed just before the hour.
The halfback had a second after a scything 40-odd metre run after a quick-tap penalty saw McDermott beat five defenders to score next to the posts.
O’Connor finished off a wonderful team try that saw Daugunu, Tupou and McRieght combine for the try with 10 minutes remaining.
As the Force tired, the gaps opened up. McDermott almost had a hat-trick but could not place the ball down before he was bundled into touch.
Hegarty scored after selling an audacious dummy and running 40 metres to dot down.
Tualima scored after the hooter to complete the thumping after the Force turned over possession at another ruck.
Final Score: Western Force 5 (0) Reds 57 (15)
Tries – Ready
Cards – Longbottom (Yellow, 53′)
Tries – Daugunu (2), McReight, McDermott (2), O’Connor, Hegarty, Tualima
Pen – O’Connor
Con – O’Connor (7)
Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Damon Murphy
TMO: Brett Cronan
15 Jake Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jack McGregor, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessman, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tom Sheminant, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callan, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Henry Taefu
15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jack Straker
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Jack Hardy