Five things we learnt from Reds - Highlanders

Fri, Apr 19, 2024, 12:30 PM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey
Suliasi Vunivalu secures the Reds' 24-nil win over the Highlanders with the final try of the match.

The Reds are 4-4 in 2024 after re-routing their season on Friday night with a 31-0 win over the Highlanders.

The bonus-point win ended a three-game losing streak for Les Kiss’ men and condemned the Highlanders to a fifth straight defeat this year

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Here’s what we learnt.

1.Queensland back with a bang

Where has this been for the past four weeks?

Queensland looked a shadow of their early season selves against the Force, Brumbies and Moana but roared to life in front of 13,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds’ attack was humming with Kalani Thomas pulling strings in Tate McDermott’s regular #9 jersey while Queensland’s pack piled the pain on at scrum time with four second-half penalties.

A 31-0 win is exactly the launchpad needed for Queensland to tackle the fortnight ahead with the Blues and Crusaders laying in wait.

2.All the Wright moves

It’s been a long time between drinks in the Test arena for Liam Wright but he’s well on his way to sipping Wallaby gold in 2024.

With regular co-captain Tate McDermott ruled out through suspension, Wright delivered an assured performance with two lineout steals, 7 lineout wins, 18 tackles without a miss and a turnover on top.

Wright last featured for Australia in 2020 against Argentina and should be well in consideration to add to his five caps under Joe Schmidt this year.

3. Exit Petaia, Hunter and Creighton centre stage

Seeing Jordan Petaia leave the field before halftime with a shoulder injury had Reds fans a little uneasy.

They shouldn’t have worried as Lawson Creighton shifted to inside centre with Hunter Paisami running rampant in the #13 jersey.

Having already scored an early try, Paisami looked comfortable in the wider channels and finished with 10 tackles, two linebreak assists, two try assists and three tackle busts.

Creighton also impressed with a try and 13 tackles in his 48-minute stint.

We’re yet to learn more about Petaia’s injury but with Josh Flook also sidelined, expect to see more of this pairing in coming weeks.

4. RECORDS TUMBLE FOR REDS

The 31-0 result marks the first time Queensland have kept a Kiwi side scoreless since the Reds held the Hurricanes 11-0 back in 1999.

But it’s bigger than that – Queensland’s recent record against NZ rivals has been atrocious.

Which makes this one even more special – it’s the first time Queensland have beaten two Kiwi sides in a season since 2013 and their biggest win over the Highlanders in 27 years.

5. Highlanders left to lick wounds

Five straight defeats isn’t how Clark Dermody saw his season going after a bright start to 2024.

Now reeling from a winless Australian tour, the Highlanders return to Dunedin for a must-win clash with the Western Force next week.

They also face Moana Pasifika and Crusaders in coming weeks and need at least two wins from those three encounters to remain in the hunt for a top-eight finish.

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