The Reds did the Sharks a favour when they beat the Rebels 37-23 in Brisbane on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
It was a great result for the Sharks, who will move to eighth on the overall log – the final quarter-final spot – if they beat the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
In a heated Australian derby, the Reds, who led 24-17 at half-time, used their scrum to often devastating effect, as it yielded two tries and a yellow card in favour of the hosts.
While the Rebels used the little possession they had to good effect, they struggled to deal with the Reds pack.
The game got off to a slow start with Reece Hodge and Jono Lance exchanging penalties, before the Reds camped down in the Rebels’ 22 with multiple five-metre scrums eventually resulting in a penalty try to the hosts.
A moment of controversy followed as Dane Haylett-Petty was wrongly allowed to take a quick kick-off, with the Rebels regaining the ball and some good hands from Hodge allowed Angus Cottrell to level the scores.
There was more drama late in the half as first lock Izack Rodda charged down a kick from Jack Maddocks and regathered the ball to dot down near the posts to again level the scores. Scott Higginbotham then took advantage of a yellow card to Tetera Faulkner, offloading off the back of the scrum to allow Filipo Daugunu to run in unchecked.
Hodge started the second half by kicking a couple of penalties to take his side within a point of the lead, before Reds centre Duncan Paia’aua was sent to the sin bin for repeated penalties. The Reds not only held out during that period, but extended their lead when Lance kicked his second penalty.
With Paia’aua back on, the hosts struck a killer blow when, off the back of a lineout, Lance ran a fantastic line on to a pass from centre Jordan Petaia to slice through the defence for a try of his own. The fullback then capped off the win with a third penalty.
Reds – Tries: Penalty try, Izack Rodda, Filipo Daugunu, Jono Lance. Conversions: Lance (3). Penalties: Lance (3).
Rebels – Tries: Angus Cottrell, Jack Maddocks. Conversions: Reece Hodge (2) Penalties: Hodge (3).
Reds – 15 Jono Lance, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia , 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Caleb Timu , 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith.
Subs: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Aidan Toua.
Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English (c), 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley , 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Subs: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sefa Naivalu.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images