Reds power past Rebels in Melbourne to maintain perfect record | Sport

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Kalani Thomas (left) congratulates try scorer Jock Campbell of the Reds. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The Queensland Reds remained unbeaten with a clinical 44-19 win over
the Melbourne Rebels to stretch their lead at the top of Super Rugby AU
in Melbourne on Saturday.

Brad Thorn’s Reds finished with six
tries to three and always had control of the match to leapfrog the ACT
Brumbies by four points at the top of the standings after six rounds.

It was the Reds’ biggest winning margin over the Rebels in Melbourne and marks them as the team to beat this season.

Led
by Wallaby James O’Connor with 14 points and a try double from hulking
tight-head Taniela Tupou, the Reds were too big and strong for the
Rebels.

“We’re in a building phase and now everybody has matured
and there’s a lot of young guys with a lot of game time and I think it’s
our time to put it forward to the Brumbies and win this competition,”
skipper O’Connor said.

The Reds are aiming to host this season’s
final in Brisbane and face the Brumbies at home next weekend in what
could prove a season-defining game.

The Reds bounded to a 14-0
lead after the opening six minutes after powerhouse prop Tupou burrowed
over and an intercept try from Hunter Paisami off a Reece Hodge pass
inside the Reds half.

It got no better for the Rebels when
O’Connor speared through an opening and sent Tupou over for his second
try and a 24-0 lead midway through the half.

The Rebels pulled
back a try when Matt Toomua put winger Frank Lomani through a gap to
score with Toomua adding the extras for 24-7.

Lomani then turned
provider, breaking the line and sending Hodge racing over for
Melbourne’s second try to trail 24-14 at half-time.

The Reds sized the initiative on the resumption and flanker Fraser McReight scored to push the margin out to 17 points.

Queensland
stretched their lead further when winger Jock Campbell scored wide out
off an O’Connor pass to lie in a bonus-point position with under 20
minutes left.

But the Rebels crossed for their third try of the
night when Thomas Nowlan and Marika Koroibete combined to send number
eight Michael Wells charging over to trail 39-19 heading into the final
10 minutes.

The Reds finished with a try by Josh Flook off a high kick to the corner by O’Connor to claim a bonus point.

“They’re a quality team,” Rebels skipper Toomua said.

“We
let them off to too good a start. We got it back into a contest at
half-time, but you can’t give a team like that such a big lead.”

Rebels –Tries: Lomani, Hodge, Wells. Conversions: To’omua (2).

Reds –Tries: Tupou (2), Paisami, McReight, Campbell, Flook. Coversions: O’Connor (4). Penalties: O’Connor (2).

Rebels: 15 Tom Pincus, 14 Frank Lomani, 13 Stacey Ili, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Joshua Kemeny, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cabous Eloff.

Replacements:16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Albert Anae, 19 Tom Nowlan, 20 Robert Leota, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Lewis Holland, 23 Jeral Skelton, 24 Lucio Sordoni, 25 Glen Vaihu.

Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.

Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Richie Asiata, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Seru Uru, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Josh Flook, 23 Filipo Daugunu.

Referee: Amy Perrett
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, Matthew Kellahan
TMO: Ian Smith



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