In another week running of the new Super Rugby season, the Queensland Reds were blessed to have co-skipper James O’Connor by their side at first five-eighth. He always used the best of these penalties, especially with the successful kicks into the goal. And that cross-kick assist towards Jordan Petaia for the five-point score during the first-half is unbelievable, thanks to the communication built by the Reds’ forward line so JOC can unleash his magic.
Next up, Ryan Smith has to be the game-changer here off the bench for Angus Scott-Young on the blindside, which gave the Reds some fresh legs to help themselves get past the Waratahs in the end. He has a very clear vision to unpack even with a bit of space thanks to his tall build at almost two meters. With Ryan on board, the Reds needed his help in a bid to dismantle a pack of Tahs’ defenders past the TRY line when they felt so 1-2 meters short, before he dived in down low and grounded the ball first that turned out to be the game-winning score.
All in all, JOC started and finished the game for the Reds in style under the rain, while Smith made a huge difference later in the 2nd half that helped the Reds pull off what they desperately needed in 1st place (16-20).
And the Tahs may be gutted with the narrow loss last night, but one player who stood out is Will Harris at Number 8. He had an outstanding first-half run that puts the Tahs on level with the Reds at half-time (10-10), when not only did he collect a TRY himself via the scrum feed, but he also kept a close eye on the Reds and held them down defensively when the opposition lacked numbers. We love how he outsmarted Reds’ half-back, Tate McDermott, when he pulled the trigger once the Tahs’ stayed square & finished off against Angus Scott-Young past the touch line. Unfortunately, the Tahs made a couple of messy mistakes towards the end. Not only did it isolate their finishing opportunities with the ball, but it also exposed their defense before James O’Connor kicked the ball into touch after the 80th minute and it’s too late.