Queensland’s Super Rugby finals hopes are almost sunk following their loss to the Chiefs, but Brad Thorn says there are more promising signs for the future.
Brad Thorn is usually reluctant to play the age card with his young Queensland Reds but couldn’t resist it after their freakish 19-13 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Reds slumped to second-last overall and look highly unlikely to make the Super Rugby finals after an eighth loss.
Thorn was torn over how to react to Friday’s performance, in which his side held a mortgage on possession and territory yet could only manufacture one try, when Taniela Tupou burrowed over for the game’s only scoring play in the second half.
Otherwise the visitors hammered away but, without game-breaking inside centre Samu Kerevi, lacked a cutting edge.
“It was gutsy,'” said Thorn, although that description could be assigned to a Chiefs side forced to make nearly 250 tackles.
Thorn pointed out that prop Tupou, who turned 23 this month, was the oldest member of his starting forward pack.
While it had been a Reds pledge not to use youth as an excuse this season, he hinted it played a big part in failing to nail their chances.
“They’re out there, they’re competing hard and they’re learning some stuff. The time will come when they start to win those games,” he said.
“You can see there’s something good going on and experiences like tonight, it doesn’t come easy but they’ll learn from it.”
Izack Rodda, who was captain in place of the rested Samu, didn’t regret changing Queensland’s game plan of close-quarter rugby, pointing to a damp surface that made expansive play difficult.
“We were getting pay playing direct and playing through them. So we thought we’d look play to our strengths and look for a weakness,” he said.
The Reds will need to beat the Jaguares and Blues in successive home games to have any sort of finals chance heading into a final regular season game against the Brumbies.