The St.George Queensland Reds have defeated the Western Force 57-5 with a clinical display on the Gold Coast in Round 8 of Vodafone Super Rugby AU.
After leading 15-nil at the half-time break, Queensland dominated the second forty, scoring six tries in the final half hour of play to secure a dominant bonus-point win.
Tate McDermott and Filipo Daugunu both scored doubles in the win, while Tuaina Taii Tualima scored his maiden Super Rugby five pointer in the resounding victory.
Head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’ve been talking about different parts of our game mindset wise, turning up ready to play.
“We wanted to bring that pressure on either side of the ball, especially that first ten minutes, and try and bring a bit of tempo to the game to challenge the Force.
“You saw what happened in the second half, they played some positive Rugby, attractive Rugby and it was brought about by pressure, the defence, the shape in attack and we were pleased.
“This was a dangerous game for us. These Force lads, credit to them, they’ve been situated over here on the east coast away from their families and they’ve been going to the wall five games in a row.”
Daugunu opened the scoring for Queensland, the winger flying on to a deft James O’Connor inside ball to score his fourth try of the Super Rugby AU season. O’Connor added the extras to give the Reds a 7-nil lead after 14-minutes of play,
Daugunu had his second in the 29th minute, after a build-up of phases inside the Force half gave O’Connor the opportunity to send the winger over the line with a short ball off the back of a neat Bryce Hegarty offload.
O’Connor extended his side’s lead with a penalty in the 37th minute, as the Reds headed to the half-time break with a commanding 15-nil lead.
The Force hit back early in the second-half through Andrew Ready, who scored courtesy of a strong scrum to make the score 15-5 in the 44th minute.
Force prop Kieran Longbottom was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements in the 52nd minute and the Reds quickly capitalised with a try to Fraser McReight. The backrower scored via a one-handed O’Connor offload, after the flyhalf stormed through the line and found McReight on his inside. O’Connor slotted the ensuing conversion to stretch the Queensland lead to 22-5 with 24-minutes to play.
An opportunistic play from McDermott gave Queensland their third try, with the crafty scrumhalf darting down the blindside before stepping around the final line of Force defence to score. O’Connor added his third conversion to open up a 29-5 lead.
McDermott soon had another, after he took a signature quick tap from a penalty and dashed 25-metres, beating four Force defenders on the way to score his second five-pointer of the night.
A superb piece of counterattacking Rugby delivered Queensland their next try, with O’Connor finishing a sequence which began well within the Reds’ half. Daugunu started the play, breaking the Force line and linking with Taniela Tupou, who then combined with McReight on his outside. McReight streaked down field and was eventually torn down, before Sorovi found O’Connor on his outside who strolled across the line untouched. The flyhalf converted his own try to put the score out to 43-5 with 10-minutes to play.
Bryce Hegarty crossed for the Reds’ seventh try with a stunning solo effort, the versatile playmaker piercing the visitor’s defence with a show and go and outpacing the chasing Force defence to race 40-metres and score.
Tualima capped the night with his maiden Super Rugby try, the backrower burrowing his way through the defence from close to the line after the siren to put the final score out to 57-5 on the Gold Coast.
Queensland have a bye next round, before returning to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Brumbies in the final round of the Super Rugby AU competition on Saturday 5 September.