The Queensland Reds were unable to deliver the 80-minute performance required to extend their Super Rugby Pacific season.
The Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific season has come to an end after failing to deliver on time against the clinical Crusaders in Christchurch.
Crippled by a lack of discipline, which left the grateful hosts with 16 penalties, the Reds were defeated 37-15 in Friday night’s quarter-final.
The defeat ended a season-end horror run for the Queenslanders.
After winning seven of their first eight games, the Reds lost six of their last seven games and crashed in the first week of the final series.
The Reds’ inability to beat teams from the New Zealand leg of the competition – apart from basement dwellers Moana Pasifika – cost them dearly and is something Queensland should improve on in the coming seasons.
The Queenslanders were at least brave in their quarter-final defeat, and at one point reduced the Crusaders’ lead to just one point in the second half.
But the continued conceding of penalties, as well as the Crusaders’ total dominance in the scrums, allowed the hosts to run away with victory in the final stages of the match.
“The boys put in a lot of struggle, they wore the Queensland jersey with pride, they went toe to toe, but credit to the Crusaders – they got the job done,” said Reds coach Brad Thorn.
“How often do you see sides to it with 20 minutes to go? That’s money time.
“Good sides make the most of those opportunities.”
The Reds’ scrum problems were such that tighthead prop Feao Fotiaika became hooked after 34 minutes and was replaced by Sef Fa’agase.
Despite conceding several penalties and being overpowered in scrums, the Reds trailed just eight points at halftime.
Crusaders fullback Will Jordan scored the first try of the game in the 15th minute but Queensland answered 10 minutes through winger Suliasi Vunivalu.
The Reds started the second half with great intention and were rewarded in the 43rd minute with an attempt to play Filipo Daugunu on the wing.
It came out of a set play after a lineout win, with Daugunu injecting himself into the back line to score on the other side of the field.
Lawson Creighton converted a hard kick to narrow the Crusaders’ lead to just one point.
However, Creighton lost a golden opportunity to give Queensland the lead four minutes later when he shot a penalty just wide of the post.
The Crusaders then took the lead, scoring the last three tries of the game, including a stylish attempt by winger Sevu Reece, to secure a semi-final spot.
There was a late injury for the Reds when halfback Tate McDermott left the field in a medi booth after a blow to the head.
However, he recovered from walking around after the game,
“He’s been struck by the cold. It’s not nice to see that, but that’s part of the game,” Thorn said.
Originally published as Clinical Crusaders end Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific season