The St.George Queensland Reds have fallen 63-28 to a clinical Crusaders side at Suncorp Stadium in Round 2 of Harvey Norman Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
This year’s Aotearoa champions ran in nine-tries-to-four in a ruthless display, with flyhalf Richie Mo’unga scoring a hat-trick in front of a crowd of 22,088.
Queensland co-captain Liam Wright brought up his 50th Queensland and Super Rugby cap in the loss.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s an easy one this one to tip your hat to a very fine Rugby team.
“Our guys were trying really hard, they took some opportunities but playing against that quality, they don’t miss.
“There were different times where we had opportunities, obviously the ones we capitalised on and another three times we were held up over the line.
“Sometimes you have to cop a beating. It’s not what we wanted, we don’t want to let people down who come to support us, but hats off to a very fine football team,” said Thorn.
The visitors opened the scoring with a Mo’unga try, the flyhalf collecting the crumbs of a Queensland error to streak away and score in the fifth minute.
A pair of tries to Sevu Reece and Cullen Grace extended the Crusaders’ advantage to 21-nil by the 16th minute, as the New Zealand champions showed their class in Brisbane.
The Crusaders continued to dominate field position and position, with Mo’unga crossing for his second try and his side’s fourth in the 28th minute.
The TMO disallowed Queensland their first points of the night soon after, a knock-on in the lead-up denying Tate McDermott a five-pointer.
McDermott quicky made amends, the scrumhalf fooling the defence with a signature show-and-go from a quick tap to cross the line from close range. James O’Connor made no mistake with the conversion attempt to cut the Reds’ deficit to 28-7 at the half-time break.
Reece completed his double early in the second stanza, the winger steaming onto a pinpoint cross-field kick to score out wide. Mo’unga added the extras to put the score out to 35-7.
Mo’unga had his third try of the night in the 55th minute, before a penalty try saw the visitors extend their lead to 49-7, with Harry Hoopert also shown a yellow card in the process.
Harry Wilson hit back for Queensland’s second try minutes later, the backrower dashing over 50-metres and beating the last line of defence with a stunning one-handed dummy to score. O’Connor nailed the conversion from out wide to make the score 49-14.
Another piece of Wilson magic gave the Reds their next try. After breaking through the line with a charge down, the Wallaby number-eight found Suliasi Vunivalu on his inside with a miraculous behind-the-head pass and he outpaced the chasing defence to score his third try of the Trans-Tasman competition. O’Connor added his third conversion of the night to bring the score to 49-21 with 15-minutes remaining.
The Crusaders brought up their half-century in the 68th minute via a Tamaiti Williams try, before a Codie Taylor five-pointer stretched their lead to 63-21.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa scored a late consolation try to see the score finish at 63-28.
Queensland travel north to Townsville to take on the Chiefs at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday 29 May. Tickets available via https://bit.ly/3faHBOJ