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Thread: Western Force vs Queensland Reds: Match Report 2

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    Western Force vs Queensland Reds: Match Report 2

    The Queensland Reds have added another win to their march towards the Super Rugby finals with a heart stopping 24-21 victory over the Western Force. The home side looked the goods going into the final 10 minutes with a 4 point lead; however as was so often the case this season, the Force couldnít hold on to take victory. It was a thrilling match and the sense of disappointment in the loss is somewhat consoled by Queensland consolidating their place on the ladder, which can only be good for Australian rugby.

    The game started with a roar in front of a bumper crowd of 16,102 on a chilly Perth night. The Force ran the ball early and got on the scoreboard early from a James OíConnor penalty after a high tackle on David Pocock; the Reds obviously wanting to pressure the Force sensation.

    A flurry of penalties against the Reds, along with some fine running from David Smith, saw the Force into the Redsí red zone. A 5m scrum to the Force from a penalty saw Rory Sidey bust his way over for his first try of the night and third for the season. OíConnorís radar failed to find the posts, however, leaving the score 8-0 in favour of the home side and the visitors with almost no possession to speak of.

    When the Reds finally did get their hands on the pill they did manage to put through some good phases on attack. They came close around the 10th minute, winning a 5m scrum. The Force managed to turn it over, however and cleared their lines.

    But the Reds found the line a few minutes later after a Quade Cooper intercept saw the Force lead narrowed to just 1 point after being hot on attack.

    The Force returned to the attack and sustained pressure on the Reds line saw Sidey go over for his second, bringing to equal top of the Force try-scorers list. The missed conversion had the scores at 13-7.

    It was then the Reds turn to put on the blowtorch, only for handling to let them down 5m out from the line. A messy ball from the scrum was swooped on by backrower Scott Higginbotham, who crossed in the corner. The successful conversion gave the Reds the lead 14-13. To add injury to insult, inspirational captain Nathan Sharpe was injured in the play leading up to the scrum and was replaced by Ben McCalman.

    A Force penalty late in the first half recovered the lead. 16-14.

    The attacking class of the Reds and the defensive class of the Force were on show for all to see early in the second half. The Reds started in much the same way the Force had started in the first half; not letting their opposition get hold of the pill. For all the Reds attack, the sterling defensive effort from the Force held the damage to just three points from a Quade Cooper penalty.

    Yet the Force struggled to regain any possession and territory, constantly letting themselves down with handling errors. The Force also found themselves under pressure at the line-out. The absence of Nathan Sharpe was telling with two consecutive lost line-outs seeing the Force unable to mount any form of attack.

    It was around the 65th minute mark when the home side did get some possession and territory together. A Force scrum inside the Reds 22 saw David Pocock go over in the corner to take the lead going into the final 10 minutes. OíConnorís missed conversion keeping the Reds in the game.

    The final few minutes saw the Reds hammer away at the Force line. The home side defended phase after phase, yet couldnít stop the Reds juggernaut until they threw it wide and James Slipper was bungled into touch. The Force line-out failed yet again, and the Reds attack continued. Attack after attack on the Force line finally gave way as Dom Shipperley crossed in the corner for the match winning try. Quade Cooperís conversion was icing on the cake for a game that both teams fought hard for.

    Match Wash-Up
    Yet another disappointment. Yet another 11th hour loss. That's nine games this season that we've failed to close out in the final 10 minutes, either by letting go of a lead or failing to take one.

    It was definitely a game of two halves for the Force. A half with Sharpie and a half without. The two were a stark contrast. Our attack was frenetic in that first half and we deserved to be further in front than 2 points. Those two opportunistic tries kept the Reds in a game that, on another day they might have been out of by half time. As impressive as the strong attacking play in the first half was, the defence in the second half was superb. The Reds are one of the best attacking sides in Super Rugby and to have kept them out for so long, through so many waves of attack, was a credit to the team. It is harder to recognize that effort with the 77th minute lapse costing the game, but we would be feeling very different about it had Cooper's pass not gone to hand. A lot went wrong in that second half, primarily the dysfunction at the line-out and the inability to get ourselves out of our own half, but it's hard to find fault with the defence.

    Matt Hodgson said in the post-match interview that Sharpie won't be around forever, and it is a very scary thought. We should thank our lucky stars that he will be with us at least for 2012, and hope that Toby Lynn knows his shit in the line-out. Either way, the team will need to do a lot of soul searching in the off season, after the Rebels game, in order to get their stuff together for 2012. Next year might be our last good chance in the near future for a serious crack at finals rugby as Sharpe, Pocock, O'Connor and a handful of other players will be coming off contract. It will also be the kind of fill-up the team needs because a largely unsuccessful season will no doubt result in another year in the red.

    It's time to go from the 'nearly there' team to the 'we're there, now let's stop for a minute and enjoy the view' team. All it takes is 10 minutes.

    Man of the Match
    You can't go past David Pocock for this one. He was all over the breakdown and was his usual sturdy and reliable self on attack and on defence. His form coming into the international season is really promising for the Wallabies. Of course some credit must go to his backrow compatriots who help him out in his dirty work. Honourable mentions to Matt Hodgson, Nick Cummins and James O'Connor, who was unfortunately let down by his kicking at goal.

    For the Reds Quade Cooper was probably the standout in a team that arguably underperformed against the Force. Cooper's passing put a lot of pressure on the Force and his running game was again excellent. The only let down for Cooper was a bit of average kicking at times- he was well read by James O'Connor.

    Western Force Game Rating
    In isolation, it was a very good game. The Reds are not top of the table for no reason. We dominated the first half, except on the scoreboard, and defended like champions in the second half. In the scheme of the season, it was the same old story. A story that each one of us is a fair bit sick of hearing. The loss of Nathan Sharpe was devastating and you can't help but wonder what might have been if he had soldiered on. But the line-out and some dodgy kicking aside, it was one of our best performances of the year. B-.

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    Last edited by James; 12-06-11 at 00:16.
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    Senior Player Bronski Beat's Avatar
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    THAT SUCKED

    That just sucked tonight. Full credit to the boys though. Be nice to win a tight one at some stage though.

    Losing on the death knock like tyhat blows major arse.

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    Senior Player tic's Avatar
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    Force were excellent, but the Reds just have that edge.

    David Pocock post match interview - what a nice bloke and what a great game by him again tonight.

    I thought Liam Gill did well for his run on debut. I think he is another Pocock in the making.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    lost it when sharpie came off

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    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    Yes the Force had their chances ie joc missed kicks at goal, soft tries and the poor lineout call at the end. why would you call for a long throw in right at your try line?????Reds did well and to hang in there despite being outplayed. The sign of a good team is getting outplayed and still coming away with the win.
    Quade Cooper could possibly be the best fullback and flyhalf in oz

    Quote Originally Posted by tic View Post
    I thought Liam Gill did well for his run on debut. I think he is another Pocock in the making.
    Dunno about that hahaha :p but that was a pretty clever little play leading up to the higgenbotham try.

    Be interesting to see if Horwill sees the judiciary for the swinging forearm at Pococks jaw? If Vaeia gets a week for an incidental hit that digby fell into surely Horwill is a goner??

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    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimeric View Post
    lost it when sharpie came off
    The intensity def dropped after sharpie came off.
    I was amazed they took Wykes off and Hockings on??
    That lineout at the end was a shambles!

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    curses and bother

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haji View Post
    The intensity def dropped after sharpie came off.
    I was amazed they took Wykes off and Hockings on??
    That lineout at the end was a shambles!
    They did swap them back again 5 mins later then put Hockings on for someone else.

    I just wanted a 5 point win to get back over the Brumbies again.

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    Terribly upsetting loss.

    We just can't win the tight ones and I can't understand why. We've never been able to do it.

    I'm torn about what this means in the long term.

    Sure, we did very well, and, maybe with all the young blokes we have, that's a promising sign... or... potentially, this constant, snivelling, condescending "we're-just-pleased-to-be-here mentality" is stopping the side's management from making the tough decisions to make sure this sort of loss doesn't keep happening.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    we are over them 1 pt for losing within 7 and we have a better points diff

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    JOCs kicking was attrocious... if nothing else he should sue Puma for giving him such terrible orange boots!

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    gotta say the sport psychologist needs the f@§kin sack after all the losses in the last minute this year! We need to grow a set anpd start playing for 80 minutes
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    For once i don't think that was a choke. Beaten by the better team, Cooper's performance in the last 10 mins, especially that last pass was just perfection. Cooper was the difference between the two teams, we shut him down very well in the first half, but once all the subs came on it seemed like no one wanted to focus on him anymore.

    With Drew and Digby out. Nick Cummins is currently the best winger in the country, he is no doubt going to play for the wallabies one day, and he will become a regular at some point. AAC took a while to make the squad but once he did, his hard running and outstanding defence kept him there. It makes you proud of the Force to see him progress over all these years, now he is really pushing for a Wallabies spot.

    (at least thats the idea i got watching him live, maybe on TV it was different)

    Edit: Forgot to add, if we play like this next year, we will win A LOT more games. This group just needs a little more time to get used to each other. Stannard brings a new game to fly half, and when Swanepoel comes on we get very quick ball.

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    I'm with the conspiracy theory. We let a Reds west aussie win the last lineout that lead to the try to ensure that the Reds for the home semi.

    (Gits won't play the game so we did )

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    Yep a disappointing loss- conceded 2 soft tries- why all the blame on the coach? I think some of you miss the boat.

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