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Reds vs Highlanders
Super Rugby, 26 May, 2018
|Fulltime - Reds 15, Highlanders 18|
|Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge|
|Touch judges: Jordan Way & Graham Cooper|
|TMO: Damien Mitchelmore|
Queensland have fallen just short of notching another Australian win over New Zealand, copping a three-point loss to the Highlanders on Saturday night.
The Reds host the Highlanders Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:45pm AEST.
While the Reds have won five of their last seven games against the Highlanders, four of them are long forgotten – during Ewen McKenzie’s tenure. In 2016, the Reds narrowly beat the Highlanders, helmed by the discarded dual-coaching team of Nick Stiles and Matt O’Connor.
Last week, Brad Thorn’s Reds were a few points short of a major upset against an underwhelming Hurricanes. The Reds scored four great tries, the same number as their triumph over the Lions three weeks earlier.
They scored tries the same way – by minimal possession. Their loss against the Sunwolves was a great example: the more the Reds handles the pill, the greater their chances of losing. They are just like the Reds of the late 1980s. They are just like the Highlanders today.
Today will be an interesting game to watch. Both teams might try to minimise possession. Thanks partially to a red carded player, the Highlanders lost by a painful 29 points to the Waratahs last week, who have been steadily building form. Coach Aaron Mauger and his boys will still be feeling the pain today. They will want to dish that pain on the Queenslanders.
Mauger is on family leave and will not direct today’s game. Former Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett will command battleship Highlanders. He says “The Reds have shown right throughout this year, I think the game against the Lions they were just passionate and hungry, the Hurricanes last week, once again, exactly the same.”
Perhaps the Reds will have a go at attack today, because they scored two tries last week via multi-phase campaigns. One was by Taniela Tupou from a series of picks and gos. The other was a classic midfield try facilitated by a perfect Jono Lance pass, just outside the Hurricane defender.
The Reds back three are more susceptible to the high balls. The “Landers” will probably try to exploit this.
The Highlanders have not won in Brisbane since 2005. They will probably break this drought today. The bookies agree, giving 4:1 odds for a Reds win.