Planet Rugby

Reds win basement battle

01st March 2009 07:42

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The Reds beat the Cheetahs 22-3 in Brisbane on Saturday, leaving the visitors rooted to the bottom of the Super 14 table with a long tour still ahead.

As with the Force on Saturday, the Reds made all the early running but couldn't get the points on the board.

They spent pretty much the entire first 25 minutes in the Cheetahs territory - in that time the visitors missed 17 tackles - but even when given a shot at goal, Ben Lucas screwed the ball nervously left.

By contrast, the visitors offered little in attack bar an early flurry of energy which yielded three points from the boot of Jacques-Louis Potgieter. This was a worrying performance for Cheetahs fans, the team looks resigned to its fate already.

The Reds looked much classier, offloading the ball in the tackle with style many times and willing to try all sorts. Mark McLindn's threat on the counter attack from kicked ball nullified the Cheetahs' kicking game - as did the palpable lack of a real chase, something the baking hot weather could not excuse.

Peter Hynes went close after nine minutes after some super handling from Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes and McLinden, only a bullish driving tackle from Hennie Daniller denied the Wallaby wing.

Ioane also continued to be a thorn in the Cheetahs' side with several telling breaks, with forwards running off all shoulders in an attempt to play some dazzling 15-man rugby. There were too many handling mistakes in the humid conditions, but somwething had to give.

When it did, it was a super try. Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman were all involved in some slick hands before the accomplished McLinden skitted over from 5m out. Lucas converted for a 7-3 lead after 26 minutes.

That was pretty much it for the first half as the Reds continued to dominate and seek to play but had hands let them down too often. Leroy Houston in particular, may be receiving an offer of sponsorship from Teflon sometime soon.

The Cheetahs also enjoyed one brief attack near the Reds' line after the hooter had gone, but Frans Viljoen knocked on as he stretched to place the ball over the line.

Little changed after the break. It was a matter of time before the Reds scored again, with Ioane in particular terrorising the Cheetahs defence on a regular basis.

Lucas clipped over a short-range penalty to make it 10-3, then Ioane got the try his work deserved, taking loose ball from the side of a ruck and springting home from 50m.

All in all the Reds probably butchered five tries through handling errors. Another went begging after 63 minutes when McMeniman's score was ruled out for an earlier no-arm tackle from Quade Cooper.

A 71st-minute drop goal attempt by Cooper, which fell just short, signified that the Reds had given up hope of chasing the bonus point in the stifling heat, but then a soft try to Hynes with four to go rekindled the hope.

Man of the match: Digby Ioane has been a revelation at centre since Morgan Turinui fell victim to a shoulder injury, and continued his fine form tonight.

The scorers:

For the Reds:

Tries: McLinden, Ioane, Hynes

Cons: Lucas 2

Pen: Lucas

For the Cheetahs:

Pen: Potgieter

Reds: 15 Mark McLinden, 14 Brando Va'aulu, 13 Digby Ioane, 12 Berrick Barnes (c), 11 Peter Hynes, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Hugh McMeniman, 4 Van Humphries, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Sean Hardman, 1 Greg Holmes.

Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Dayna Edwards, 18 Adam Byrnes, 19 Poutasi Luafutu, 20 Will Genia, 21 Anthony Faingaa, 22 Blair Connor.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Piet van Zyl, 12 Jaques-Louis Potgieter, 11 Fabian Juries, 10 Meyer Bosman, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Frans Viljoen, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt, 3 Jacobus Roux, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wiaan du Preez.

Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Wayne van Heerden, 19 Hendro Scholtz, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Corné Uys, 22 Jongi Nokwe.

Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)

Touch judges: Paul Marks (Australia), Stephen Hill (Australia)

TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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