Planet Rugby

Reds sneak through the back door

14th July 2012 08:55

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james slipper reds v waratahs

Job done: The Reds book a home play-off with bonus-point win

The Reds broke Brumbies' hearts after recording a 32-16 bonus-point win over the Waratahs that takes them top of the Australian conference and into the Super Rugby play-offs.

Everything went according to plan for the defending champions, who have kept their hopes of winning back-to-back titles alive.

First they needed the Brumbies to lose to the Blues by more than seven points, and then had to beat the 'Tahs by four tries for the first time since 2003 to sneak through the back door into the finals.

The Queenslanders did just that and more thanks to their five-try victory in Brisbane, which will now see them return to Suncorp Stadium next weekend for a home play-off.

However, the only setback suffered by the Reds was a yellow card shown to star playmaker Quade Cooper who could miss next week's knock-out clash after he was cited for his second-half high tackle on Berrick Barnes.

The forecast rain stayed away in Brisbane which meant tries were easier to come by as Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill, James Slipper and Dom Shipperley touched down for the key scores before Will Genia added a flourish with the fifth.

The writing was on the wall for the Waratahs - and the Brumbies for that matter - when Digby Ioane made a break and put the visitors on the back foot within 90 seconds.

A faulty line-out from the Waratahs resulted in Gill and Genia combining to put Higginbotham over in the corner just four minutes into the match, as Mike Harris added the extras from far out.

Gill powered over for try number two in the 25th minute following a yellow card shown to Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan, but Harris was unable to add the conversion this time.

With two more tries required, the Reds were half-way to reaching their goal, but it was the Waratahs who grabbed the momentum going into the break after winger Drew Mitchell scored in his 100th Super Rugby match from a Bernard Foley grubber.

When Adam Ashley-Cooper followed up with a 40m drop-goal, it was 12-11 at half-time and anyone's game.

But the Reds lifted their home crowd's hopes with an opportunistic try to Slipper, after the prop snatched an over-throw at the back of a Waratahs line-out to dive over for the Queenslanders' third.

Shipperley scored their crucual fourth try in the 51st minute for a 24-11 lead after Mitchell spilled a poor Barnes pass, and the Reds speedster didn't need a second invitation.

Genia hammered the final nail in the Waratahs coffin, who managed to score a consolation try with Cooper in the bin. But it was too little too late.

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Higginbotham, Gill, Slipper, Shipperley, Genia
Cons: Harris 2
Pen: Harris

For Waratahs:
Try: Mitchell
Pens: Foley
Drop: Ashley-Cooper

Yellow card: Cooper, 63mins (dangerous tackle)

Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Ben Tapuai.

Waratahs: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (c).
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Tom Carter, 22 Tom Kingston.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

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