Brisbane - Rod Davies and Quade Cooper
propelled Queensland Reds into their first-ever Super 15 final after a
hugely convincing 30-13 win over the Auckland Blues in Brisbane on
The table-topping Reds outscored the Blues four tries
to one to set up a showdown in Brisbane on July 9 with either South
Africa's Western Stormers or seven times champions Canterbury Crusaders
of New Zealand.
Wallaby flyhalf maestro Cooper was again
instrumental to the Reds' victory while speedster Davies scored his
team's first-ever hat-trick of tries in Super Rugby.
expected to star for the Wallabies in this year's World Cup in New
Zealand, often bamboozled the Auckland defence with his sleight of hand
and his dazzling footwork to put the Reds on the attack, particularly in
the opening half.
The Reds led 15-0 after 38 minutes but the
three-time Super Rugby champion Blues hit back to get within five points
at 15-10 early in the second half before the home side reasserted
control with two tries to winger Davies.
Queensland beat the
Blues 37-31 in their last encounter, in Brisbane in May, and have lost
only once in nine games at home this season.
"The excitement is
there and it was certainly there this week but we are not going to go
away from what has worked for us all year and we are going to control
that emotion to build towards playing the final here next Saturday
night," Reds' skipper James Horwill said.
"We knew our
conditioning was good for tonight's game and the week off probably
proved beneficial and we just had to back our defence in the second
Auckland skipper Keven Mealamu conceded that the Reds were the better team.
built up some good pressure but let them off the hook with some little
mistakes and against a quality side like the Reds in Brisbane it is
going to work against you," he said.
"You have to take your hat off to the Reds, they played really well and they were the better side tonight.
"We threw everything we had at them and they came off better than us."
scored against the run of play off an intercept in the 12th minute when
he sprinted 70 metres to score and then Cooper produced some attacking
magic off a return kick and sent centre Ben Tapuai over in the 30th
A Cooper penalty pushed the Reds to a 15-0 lead but the
Blues scored right on halftime when lock Chris Lowrey speared through a
Luke McAlister nudged Auckland to 15-10 with a penalty
goal in the 46th minute but Davies claimed his second try off a Cooper
pass and then wrapped up the contest with his third try after a failed
chip kick from Jared Payne gave possession to Queensland deep in
Payne botched Auckland's last chance when he
knocked on with the try-line beckoning in the 70th minute and Reds'
replacement forward Adam Wallace-Harrison had a try disallowed by the
video referee when he lost the ball over the line.
Cooper put the icing on the cake with a drop goal with five minutes left.Reds:
15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Will ChambersBlues:
15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams , 4 Chris Lowrey, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Charlie Faumuina
Substitutes: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 James King, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Rene Ranger, 22 Sherwin Stowers