Reds overcome Blues in rugby trial

By Jim Morton,

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    Quade Cooper displayed many of his sublime skills but finished red-faced in his Super Rugby trial return as Queensland outlasted a spirited young Blues outfit on Saturday night.

    The Reds scored seven close-range tries to five by the physical Blues to win an entertaining pre-season cobweb-duster 41-35 at a packed Toowoomba Sports Ground.

    Part-time boxer Cooper mixed mostly good, with some bad and ugly in his 60 minutes on the field in his only hit-out before Queensland’s Super Rugby campaign kicks off against the Brumbies in Canberra in a fortnight.

    In his first rugby appearance in five months, the Wallabies playmaker set up a long-range break with his first touch of the ball – an inside pop pass to Digby Ioane – and also produced some signature jinking steps and flick passes.

    But his last two acts on the field left a sour taste in Cooper’s mouth as he was one of many barrelled by powerful winger Albert Nikoro and then stripped of the ball just minutes later.

    Both mistakes led to Blues tries as John Kirwan’s young team stormed back into the contest to trail 29-28 at the three-quarter break.

    Cooper’s goalkicking, given the duties for his sole pre-season trial ahead of sharpshooter Mike Harris, was more rusty – slotting just two from five.

    Harris immediately showed he was the man for the job by landing one from touch as the Reds closed out the topsy-turvy match.

    The signs were promising for the Aucklanders who are attempting to rebuild under new coach Kirwan following a forgettable 2012.

    The Blues had a 14-0 lead by the first drinks break with prop Angus Ta’avao and lock Ronald Raaymakers both bustling their way over after set pieces near the line.

    But Queensland’s pack muscled up to run in three close-range tries to forwards Adam Wallace-Harrison, James Hanson and Radike Samo in the last 12 minutes of the half.

    Wingers Rod Davies and Luke Morahan were among the Reds best performers while halfback Nick Frisby and young flanker Liam Gill impressed after the break to build up the 29-14 advantage.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 2:35am
      Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 2:35am | ! Report

      What are talking about? Quade can do no wrong. It was clearly the gameplan, the coach, the players outside him and the toxic environment that caused the mistakes.
      Oh and Mundine won the fight too, right Quade? Its just that the judges, fans, ref and Artie Beetson were against him.
      What a pair they are.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 4:05am
        maxxlord said | February 3rd 2013 @ 4:05am | ! Report

        As you said about Folau, let’s just wait till the season starts before passing judgement on performance one way or the other.

      • Roar Guru

        February 3rd 2013 @ 8:41am
        PeterK said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        it was SBW who tweeted Mundine won the fight not Cooper. Never let facts worry you with your crusade of hate against Cooper.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 12:09pm
        Cattledog said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        A few too many ‘hightackles’ me thinks 🙂

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 6:06pm
        Cruise said | February 3rd 2013 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

        Hightacle for the love of rugby, stop making a fool of yourself as you did on AB.com. Show some respect.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 4:17am
      Hightackle said | February 3rd 2013 @ 4:17am | ! Report

      Im not passing judgement on Coopers game. It clearly was every one elses fault.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:19am
        Justin2 said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        Laugh as usual ht, good stuff.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 6:10am
      Billy Bob said | February 3rd 2013 @ 6:10am | ! Report

      High tackle may be too accurate a nomde plume. Give it a rest mate.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 9:45am
      Red Block said | February 3rd 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      It’s interesting that the other Australian provinces chose to start by playing each other, while the Reds chose to play two trials against NZ opponents. One wonders whether Link has a definitive plan to expose his side to a more physical build up. He has always advocated playing against the best to test your mettle.

      Let’s hope it is part of a plan for a more expansive, physical style game to have the 25K+ members salivating and put an end to the boring local derbys.

      Can’t wait for it to start!

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:10am
        Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Does that mean that John Kirwan is even more of a cunning coach by playing the Reds and away from home? 🙁

        • February 3rd 2013 @ 12:44pm
          atlas said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

          cannot read much (anything?) into such a game – the Blues team was very different to their ‘A’ team: featured 18 new caps, and missing many first choice players, including Charlie Faumuina, Ali Williams, Piri Weepu, Keven Mealamu, Anthony Boric, Rene Ranger, Charles Piutau, Culum Retallick and George Moala.

          Similarly, Crusaders played five new players in their forward pack yesterday. (v Hurricanes)
          Experience for those new players, and little else.

          • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:03pm
            Lippy said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

            Snap was going to post something similar but you beat me to it.
            The Blues left Plethora of senior players at home, it was a good hit out for the debutants though.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 1:30pm
        kombiutedriver said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Soft trials …….. soft start to the Super 15 season ……. then a dose of brutal physicality against the SA or NZ teams. That’s how an Australian franchise ended up in the bottom third of the table the past few years. Let’s see how all the teams stand about Round 8.

        • February 4th 2013 @ 11:28am
          Handles said | February 4th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          You can only play the team the other coach selects.

          Reds have tried everything, recent years they have played the Crusaders, Brumbies, Force, Tahs, and played in Darwin, Cairns, and now Toowoomba.

          Reds still hopeful of 40k members this year. Already well over 25k.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 1:24pm
      glacier said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

      Red Block
      The Waratahs next 2 trials are against the Blues and the Crusaders so Link is doing nothing different to Cheika.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 1:26pm
      Malo said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      Its only a trial guys except that Folau is the new real deal and Cooper like Mundine is yesterdays hero and just a mouth. See th wuss he is fighting should be a laugh.

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