An incredible Filipo Daugunu try and similarly remarkable Reds defence has been enough to claim Queensland’s third straight win, beating a hapless Jaguares side 18-7 in Buenos Aires.
The Brad Thorn era, to date, has been built on defence and the set piece as the side’s primary weapon and that didn’t change in Buenos Aires, as Queensland bludgeoned their way through the match.
That was typified by the hard nosed performances of Izack Rodda, Angus Scott-Young and the Reds forward pack as well as a second half in which Queensland spent an incredible 80 percent of time in their own half, making goal line stand after goal line stand.
In total, the Reds made 38 more tackles than their opponents but that number was closer to 70 in the second half, such was the sheer weight of possession the Jaguares boasted.
While Rodda and Scott-Young were two of the busiest players on the field the performance was best summed up by a Hamish Stewart tackle on Juan Leguizamon with five minutes to play.All that stood between Leguizamon and the Jaguares’ second try with five minutes to play, as Queensland led 18-7, was the 87kg flyhalf, who jolted his 104kg opposite into touch to put the result beyond doubt.
It left Stewart sprawled on the turf but typified this Queensland performance – which will bring Reds fans back to Suncorp Stadium.
Caleb Timu was superb once again, racking up 34 metres and brushing Jaguares defenders like flies in his six first half carries.
Taniela Tupou was similarly destructive and there was a concerted effort to get his hands on the ball in more space – rightfully so.
But while Queensland’s young core shined, the backs were a touch stagnant.
Samu Kerevi is amassing big numbers at inside centre with ball in hand but he hasn’t added the playmaking support that Jono Lance needs at flyhalf, leading to a few too many pushed passes when the Reds did manage to break the Jaguares line, such was their desperation to produce points from their graft.
Through all of that, the key numbers after 40 minutes were the possession and territory – of which the Reds had 63 and 61 percent, respectively.That kept the Jaguares under the pump, forced to make 31 more tackles than the visitors in the first term.
Penalties followed and James Tuttle slotted a pair along with a Brandon Paenga-Amosa rolling maul try to give the Reds an 11-7 half time lead, the Jaguares crossing in the sixth minute through a smart set play off the back of an overcommitted Queensland scrum.
Stewart replaced an injured Jono Lance at the break and with his first piece of clean ball he put Caleb Timu through a hole from 60 out, the No. 8 finding Samu Kerevi who dished to Chris Feauai-Sautia, Filipo Daugunu busting a tackle on the fringe of the field to finish a superb try.
A defensive acid test followed in the next 20 minutes, as the Jaguared turned down four shots at goal inside Queensland’s 22 to search for their second try, only to be repelled by a Reds side that simply refused to fold.
Since their last finals appearance, in 2013, Queensland have gifted their opposition tries almost every time they entered the red zone.
This performance was the signal those days are over.
Coincidentally, the last time the Reds won three straight matches was that same year.
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Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Daugunu
Pens: Tuttle 2