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    Reds down Lions

    2012-05-19 13:20

    Brisbane - Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper took 17 minutes to stamp his mark on the game, and showed glimpses of his mercurial ability, as the Reds beat the bottom-placed Lions 34-20 in their Super Rugby clash at Lang Park on Saturday.

    Cooper linked well with scrumhalf Will Genia, who was superb for the Reds as he scored one try and set up another, while Mike Harris slotted 14 points for the Reds, who closed the gap on the Brumbies in the Australian conference.

    The Brumbies, who beat the Hurricanes 37-25 on Friday are on 44 points, while the Reds are on 36 and still within sight of the top-six playoffs. The Reds and Brumbies clash next week in Canberra.

    "Not happy with the whole 80 minutes, happy with parts of it, but we had a job to do. We got it done so now we go on to meet the Brumbies," Reds captain James Horwill said.

    "Quade showed some Quade-esque moments, so that's good for us. He pulled up okay and looks good so that's only positive for him."

    Cooper had trotted on to Lang Park behind his team with a noticable limp.

    The strapping on his right leg emphasised the fact he was playing his first match in seven months since he destroyed the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the rugby World Cup last October.

    The 24-year-old appeared tentative in the opening exchanges, as did the Reds, with the Lions making most of the play and being rewarded with two penalties to Elton Jantjies.

    Cooper finally got himself in the game in the 18th minute when he spotted a slight gap between two forwards and while his sidestep was less exaggerated than it was pre-injury, he accelerated through the gap and found his runner inside to set up an attacking ruck.

    He then handled at least three other times as the Reds hammered away at the line before openside flank Liam Gill crashed over and with Mike Harris converting, the Reds took the lead they never relinquished.

    Harris added two penalties in the first half to give the Reds a 13-6 lead which they built on without Cooper after the break. Cooper had not expected to play the full match.

    The Reds forwards continued to lay the platform with hooker Saia Faingaa crashing over early in the second half, while Genia was given quality possession and time to unleash players outside him.

    Genia linked with replacement Chris Feauai-Sautia to set up the teenage centre for his first Super Rugby try, about 90 seconds into his debut, then sprinted 60-metres for a brillant individual try to give the Reds their bonus point.

    Lions' replacement forwards Martin Bezuidenhout and Jaco Kriel scored consolation tries, both of which Jantjies converted, but they were unable to reduce the gap any further.

    Teams:

    Reds: 15. Ben Lucas, 14. Dom Shipperley, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 12. Mike Harris, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Will Genia, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Jake Schatz, 5. James Horwill (captain), 4. Rob Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. Saia Faingaa, 1. Greg Holmes

    Substitutes: 16. James Hanson, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19. Ed Quirk, 20. Nicholas Frisby, 21. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22. Luke Morahan

    MTN Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Jaco Taute, 11. Michael Killian, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Joshua Strauss (captain), 7. Grant Hattingh, 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Franco van der Merwe, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Cobus Grobbelaar, 19. Jaco Kriel, 20. Tian Meyer, 21. Ruan Combrinck, 22. James Kamana

    Read More On:  reds lions super 15 rugby

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