The Queensland Reds have fallen 28-15 to the Crusaders in their final Super Rugby Pacific regular season fixture at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.
The hosts dominated the opening half to take a 21-3 lead to the sheds, before a more evenly matched second forty saw the Crusaders claim a 13-point win and set up a quarter-final rematch between the two sides next week.
Richie Asiata scored his maiden Super Rugby try in the loss, while Harry Wilson also crossed as Queensland’s 11-year hoodoo against the provincial giants continued.
Crusaders flyhalf Fergus Burke opened the point-scoring with a try in the 10th minute, before Will Jordan scored a five-pointer of his own to extend the hosts’ lead to 14-nil five-minutes later.
A trademark Fraser McReight turnover put the Reds in penalty range in the 26th minute and Lawson Creighton made no mistake, kicking the score to 14-3.
The home side had their third in the 36th minute when Brodie McAlister finished a rolling maul effort to give his side a commanding 21-3 advantage at the break.
The Crusaders were reduced to 14-men in the 54th minute with Pablo Matera yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle and Queensland quickly capitalised, Asiata going over from close range to score his first Super Rugby try. Creighton converted to bring Queensland within 11-points with 13-minutes remaining.
With 15-men back on the field the Crusaders stretched their lead courtesy of a Tom Christie try, but Queensland quickly hit back through Wilson. The number-eight stepped through the defence from close to the line to finish a well-worked through the hands sequence, Connor Vest and Fraser McReight showing deft skills to put the backrower into space. Creighton missed the conversion from close to the righthand sideline, the final score finishing at 28-15.
Queensland will take on the Crusaders again next week in the Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals.
Queensland Reds 15
Tries: Asiata, Wilson
Tries: Burke, Jordan, McAlister, Christie
Conversions: Burke 4