Super Rugby Pacific: Blues too good for Reds

The Queensland Reds’ losing form against Kiwi teams has continued at Eden Park.

Queensland’s horror run against New Zealand opposition has stretched to a fourth successive defeat, with the brilliant Blues proving too strong and too classy for the Reds in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Reds remain without a win at Eden Park for the past 10 years following the Blues’ comprehensive 53-26 victory.

While the Reds will make the Super Rugby Pacific top-eight finals series, their current form suggests they will only be making up the numbers come the playoffs such is their poor record against Kiwi teams.

A win away from home over the table-topping Blues was always going to be a tough ask, but the Reds’ latest loss continues to expose their inability to get the better of their New Zealand rivals.

Having won seven of their first eight matches, which were all against teams from the Australian section of the competition, the Queenslanders have lost four matches in succession since the crossover period with Kiwi teams started last month.

Having been competitive and held leads before succumbing to the Hurricanes, the Chiefs and the Highlanders, the Reds never looked like winning against the Blues despite scoring two tries in each half.

Fullback Jock Campbell scored two of those tries, with lock Ryan Smith and winger Suliasi Vunivalu also crossing for five-pointers.

Vunivalu’s performance was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing night for the Reds, with the former Melbourne Storm NRL premiership winner proving a handful for the Blues whenever he got involved in attack.

But while the Reds looked good in attack, they again paid the price for a poor defensive display and schoolboy errors – two in particular from No.8 Seru Uru – that contributed to the clinical Blues’ eight tries.

Reds coach Brad Thorn lamented his side’s shoddy defence, with the Queenslanders missing more than 30 tackles.

“It’s far too many,” Thorn said.

“It wasn’t good enough from us defensively … we just can’t have that.

“They were physical, they were playing some really good footy. We were poor in (defence).”

The hosts scored the game’s first two tries through replacement center Bryce Heem and winger Caleb Clarke to jump to a 17-0 lead after just 19 minutes.

While the Reds recovered to reduce the Blues’ lead to eight points at half-time, a devastating start to the second half from the competition’s best team ended any slight hopes of a Queensland win.

By the 58th minute, the Blues led 39-14 on the back of second-half tries from Clarke, star flyhalf Beauden Barrett and fullback Stephen Perofeta.

Each side scored two tries in the final 20 minutes when the game was well and truly dusted.

Rubbing further salt into Queensland’s wounds was two more additions to an already lengthy casualty list, with center Hunter Paisami and hooker Albert Anae both being replaced in the first half.

Originally published as Blues run riot in attack to deliver the Queensland Reds a fourth successive defeat

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