Reds get blown away
BIGGER, stronger, faster and more structured, the Hurricanes romped to a 36-7 victory over the Queensland Reds in their Super Rugby exhibition match at Stockland Sunshine Coast Stadium last night.
While the Hurricanes were far from at full strength they were a class above the Queensland squad, which was made up of a handful of first graders and filled out by Premier grade and Reds Academy players.
After taking a 26-0 lead early in the second half, the Wellington-based side temporarily took the foot off the pedal in the second stanza but still steamed to a six tries to one victory in front of a crowd of 5106.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said: "When we go through the tape I'm sure there'll be bits and pieces (of good work), but the Hurricanes played with great intensity, but they've been doing that all year.
"They lead the try scoring in the competition by about 15 tries, so you can see why they're really good at counterattack.
"They're good at taking attacking opportunities - they combine well," McKenzie added.
"We were a bit spasmodic and we knew it was going to be a bit like that. We only had a couple of days to prepare and I thought the guys hung in there.
"I was a bit worried after the first 10 minutes. We weren't clinical enough to finish off the pressure we did apply."
Although the Reds forwards could all hold their heads up high for their work rate, the Queensland backs looked out of kilter.
Makeshift halves Ben Lucas and Dallan Murphy were competent without being outstanding, but the Hurricanes applied relentless pressure in the first 60 minutes.
The Reds featured just 12 players with Super Rugby experience.
They struggled for rhythm without their Wallabies stars, including injured captain James Horwill and flyhalf Quade Cooper.
The Hurricanes broke the Reds' line three times in the first 10 minutes and eventually went over through scrumhalf Chris Eaton in the 11th.
Just when Queensland had its first real attacking opportunity and looked as if it had turned the tide, the Hurricanes laid on a spectacular 100m try.
Centre Alapati Leiua blitzed the defence with pure pace before laying on a peach of a flick pass for Waisake Naholo, who scored under the posts.
Tries to Arden Savea and Leiua in the first 15 minutes of the second half sealed the victory.
Queensland did get a consolation try through through Guy Shepherdson - who temporarily left the field with a nasty cut to the head - but it came about through equal parts of good execution from the Reds and the Hurricanes' apathy.
McKenzie praised the performance former Sunshine Coast Stingrays Blake Enever and Matt Blain.
Chris Eaton, Waisake Naholo, Arden Savea, Alapati Leiua, Faifili Levave, TJ Perenara tries; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2, Tusi Pisi, cons.
Guy Shepherdson try; Ben Lucas con.