Champions still a major force after victory over Redlands
IPSWICH Rangers' mid-season shift in tactics has been justified with a stirring away win over Redlands.
Rangers upset the second-placed team 29-7, proving they remain a force to be reckoned with as they look to defend their Barber Cup title.
"It was the first time this year we had an all-team effort," Rangers second rower Josh Sio said.
"All 15 of us really stepped up."
The win was built around Rangers' solid defence, with new inside backs combination of Stewart Banks and Jarred Lacey leading the way.
"We really pressured their nine and 10 and forced a lot of handling errors," Sio said.
"We wore them down with each try we scored.
"Jarred Lacey's defensive effort was incredible.
"Stewart at 10 had a good game leading us around and Jacob Tierney, who moved from the wing to fullback, made some really good runs."
Tierney's switch followed an injury to starting fullback Tom Dwyer.
The bonus point win for Rangers closes the gap on third-placed Springfield to three points.
Springfield had hoped the return to Springfield Lakes would inspire the Hawks to resume their winning form after going down to Redlands last week.
But a malfunctioning lineout gave Brisbane Irish the incentive to escape with an 18-12 upset.
"We were disappointed but hey, that's rugby," Springfield coach Jeremy Clark said.
"If you can't win a lineout, it's tough."
One of the Hawks' key lineout jumpers, Juane Houston, is on holiday.
So when hooker Josh Totuaisi went off injured after 10 minutes, with no replacement hooker on the bench, it spelt disaster.
"We were gutted after that," Clark said.
"We started just tapping everything (from penalties) but that takes its toll.
"But Irish played awesome.
"I rate their forward pack as one of the best in the comp.
"They work in numbers."
The two Ipswich-based teams meet in a fortnight's time after the competition bye next weekend.