The Queensland Reds have secured their first win of the 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season in comprehensive fashion, defeating the Western Force 71-20 at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
It was the second most points scored in a single game in Queensland Rugby history, while also the highest score in Queensland’s Super Rugby history as the Reds ran in 10 tries in the competition’s second annual Super Round.
The Reds led 29-13 at the half-time break, before running in 42-points in a dominant second-half performance.
Jock Campbell brought up his 50th cap in the clinical victory, while Josh Flook and Filipo Daugunu scored doubles.
It only took the Reds five minutes to register the first points of the game through a barging run from lock Ryan Smith.
Jordan Petaia’s brilliance was on full display not long after, regathering his exit kick downfield and scoring under the posts to give the Reds an early 14-nil lead.
The Force fought back well with a try from winger Zac Kibirige and Bryce Hegarty penalty kick, before a Tom Lynagh penalty goal stifled their momentum.
Harry Wilson crashed over to push the lead to 22-8 after 25 minutes, before a powerful Force rolling-maul saw Folau Fainga'a go over at the half-hour mark.
Flook was denied a try early in the match but wouldn't be again, regathering a loose ball in the opposition in-goal to leave the half-time score at 29-13.
The Reds came out firing in the second half with Matt Faessler opening the scoring with his first Super Rugby try from close range.
A brilliant-cut out pass from Suliasi Vunivalu to Daugunu pushed the lead to 41-13, before Vunivalu struck again, scoring a length of the field intercept try to open his account for 2023.
With the score at 50-13 and one Force player in the bin, the Reds put together multiple phases before Wright extended the lead with a try of his own in his first game back for the season.
Jackson Pugh scored for the Force in the 73rd minute, but it was solely consolation for the West Australians, with Daugunu and Flook both completing their doubles in the final minutes.
Queensland head to Canberra next round to face the Brumbies, before returning to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 19 March to host the Force. Buy tickets via https://bit.ly/3mtIZC6.
Western Force 20
Tries: Zach Kibirige, Folau Fainga’a, Jackson Pugh
Conversions: Bryce Hegarty
Queensland Reds 71
Tries: Josh Flook 2, Filipo Daugunu 2, Ryan Smith, Jordan Petaia, Harry Wilson, Matt Faessler, Suliasi Vunivalu, Liam Wright
Conversions: Tom Lyangh 5, James O’Connor 4
By Mick Jones