Reds fall in final 75 seconds In Whangarei to Moana Pasifika

Sat, Apr 13, 2024, 12:22 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

The Queensland Reds fell in the final 75 seconds of a tense clash with Moana Pasifika tonight after being forced to play 27 minutes with just 14 players.

The undermanned Reds led 14-10 before a twisting, stretching William Havili snatched the Super Rugby Pacific result 17-14 at Whangarei’s Semenoff Stadium.

It was a night of frustration for the Reds who lost co-captain Tate McDermott and flanker Fraser McReight to second half red cards.

The cards sapped momentum after the Reds shook off a clunky first half when down 10-0.

The Queenslanders snapped into gear 90 seconds after the break when prop Peni Ravai surged over after strong carries in the lead-up from Harry Wilson and Matt Faessler. The Reds had a clear plan to play a territory game. Smart kicks from senior backs Jock Campbell and Hunter Paisami advanced the team 75m upfield to get into position for another strike.

A further Paisami stab kick ahead was grounded over the line by Josh Flook in the 46th minute for what was initially awarded a try.

The five-pointer was voided when a TMO replay detected an infringement from McDermott in a tackle. His yellow card was turned into a red card.

The Reds' starchy defence did not concede a point in the following 20-minute period when they were down a man.

Shortly after they were restored to 15 players, the Reds produced the try of the match with a sweeping raid initially ignited by Flook, Paisami and Mac Grealy.

The ball was swept from the next ruck to the opposite side of the field through sweet passing touches from Zane Nonggorr, the ever-present Grealy, Josh Nasser and Liam Wright until winger Jordan Petaia dotted down in the corner.

The sideline conversion from replacement flyhalf Lawson Creighton gave the Reds the lead for the first time in the match at 14-10 with 10 minutes to play.

At the 73-minute mark, McReight was yellow carded after contact in a tackle was ruled high by the TMO. It was turned into a red card on assessment.

The Reds held firm by repelling one lineout drive close to the tryline before Moana Pasifika finally found the heartbreaker through Havili out wide.

“We recognise we are better than we showed tonight but saying and thinking it is different from actually doing it,” Reds coach Les Kiss said.

“We’ll continue to work on our execution and game management.

“We came into this game with the best disciple record in the competition. Unfortunately, we got two cards tonight which is uncharacteristic of the team this year because it was again a low-penalties game.

“We found some momentum late in a clunky first half and carried that into a good opening to the second half. A couple of errors and the cards were costly and we can’t hide from that. They did stop our momentum and were certainly beneficial to Moana Pasifika.

“Fair play to Moana Pasifika. We knew they’d keep coming at us and they managed the field position of the final stages and got points from it.”

Centre Paisami made consistent ground with 81 running metres from 13 carries, winger Petaia always threatened to break the line and hooker Faessler marshalled an excellent lineout again.

Milestone man Ryan Smith was non-stop in his 50th game for the Reds as the team's chief lineout target with 10 clean wins, a lineout steal, swooping on a loose ball and 10 hefty tackles. 

“Ryan can definitely hold his head high from his 50th game for Queensland,” Kiss said.

The Reds will regroup for a clash against the Highlanders at Suncorp Stadium next Friday.

"Fans have come out to support us really well at Suncorp Stadium and we'll want to atone for sure," Kiss said.

MOANA PASIFIKA 17: Tries: William Havili, Julian Savea, Conversions: William Havili 2, Penalty Goal: William Havili


QUEENSLAND REDS 14: Tries: Peni Ravai, Jordan Petaia, Conversions: Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Lawson Creighton

At Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei

Half-time: Moana Pasifika 10-Reds 0