Reds on their knees

2012-04-02 07:49

Sydney - The Reds are trying to come to terms with their road trip from hell, which has seriously affected their aspirations of being the first Australian side to win back-to-back Super Rugby titles.

The Reds returned home to Brisbane on Sunday after three weeks in South Africa and Western Australia, where they lost to the Sharks, Bulls and Force, and had the devastating statistic of conceding 16 tries and 133 points.

Their soul-destroying trip ended with them slipping from top spot to ninth and it will require a considerable form reversal to re-establish themselves as a tournament power.

The seeds of the disaster emerged in the first half against the Sharks in Durban when they lost playmakers Mike Harris and Ben Lucas to injury.

With their No 1 flyhalf Quade Cooper not expected to be available until near the end of the competition, the Reds have had to field their fourth No 10, Dallan Murphy, in their past two matches, and the Bulls and Force have targeted the inexperienced youngster to devastating effect.

While the Reds pack remains intact, there have been problems out wide, with an inexperienced back line struggling to cope with the intensity of the Bulls, who obliterated them 61-8 in Pretoria, while the Force succeeded in exposing a distinct lack of understanding when they played at pace.

Nonetheless, the Reds forwards are far from blameless; their intensity has dropped off and their mistake rate in the past fortnight has been embarrassing. Reds captain James Horwill appeared astounded after the Force loss that they had suffered their second straight thrashing.

When reminded the Reds had conceded more than 130 points in their past three games, Horwill said: ''It's not good enough, and individuals need to have a look at what they are doing. It's unacceptable.

''We're not performing as a group. Injuries happen, but it isn't an excuse. Playing the Brumbies next week will be a big game and it is a must win for us.''

The only blemish in an otherwise faultless Force performance was the citing of replacement forward Phoenix Battye for allegedly lifting Will Genia in a tackle and driving him backwards dangerously.

Rebels wing Cooper Vuna has been suspended for two weeks, after lifting Highlanders winger Kade Poki in a tackle and dropping him to the ground.

Rugby Heaven

  • Lionel - 2012-04-02 07:59

    Now you know what the Stormers went through with all their 10's that they used!!!!!

      Jason - 2012-04-02 08:48

      Morning Lionel.................................Great Saturday buddy...................Great game!

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 08:51

      Was absolutely awesome!!!!!!Most Bulls have a lot to say about the Ref as usual!!!!!

      Nicholas - 2012-04-02 09:08

      Normally it is you guys saying that Craig Joubert is a Bulls supporter! Noticed there was none of that over the weekend ...what a laugh Lionel!

      Andrew - 2012-04-02 09:48

      nope Lionel, wrong!!! I am an avid Bulls supporter and I usually am disappointed with these local derbys, usually crap rugby, but this was a great match, very even, but on the day the Stormers won and they deserved their victory!!! I tend to look beyond the regionality of the contest, and think about things like how Heineke Meyer must be rubbing his hands together with glee at all the talent that he can choose from!! :) My only dissapointment with the match was the loud booing from the Stormers supporters when the bulls ran on the field, thats not rugby!!!!

      Papa-storm - 2012-04-02 10:20

      nicholas i think you should watch the game over before making that statement and look very careful at the forward pass of mesiekind se try (one big example) ps i saw it with my own eyes on newlands

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 10:50

      @Nitpicking Nicholas - oh dear. Bitter is such a putrid colour...and it really doesn't suit you. Suck it up sweetness......and watch the game again :) Keep a pen and paper handy, and then jot down the number of infringements by the Bulls that went unnoticed....forward passes, Hougie offside, Paul Kruger Greyling's continual pushing NOT scrumming, the round the neck tackles and tosses......etc. Shouldn't be hard for you to see these things old chap - the rest of the world did. Now pick up your dummy, switch on the PVR, grab a pen and start writing.

      Nicholas - 2012-04-02 11:43

      Steady on Saffa're losing your shape a little ...

  • verweyc - 2012-04-02 08:00

    Every one feel sorry for the Reds losing their games due to the fact that they have to play with their 4th choice flyhalf, same happen to the Stormers last year and we ended 2nd on the log. Think James Horwill is correct in saying, the rest of the team should man-up and take responsibility for their poor performances.

      Dave - 2012-04-02 09:37

      You appear to judge the Stormers last season by "finishing 2nd on the log". I prefer to judge them as home ground advantage losers against a side that had everything against them. The Stormers achieved absolutely nothing last year unless you promote mediocrity.

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 10:53

      @Dave - welllllllllllllll, when you consider only 4 teams out of 15 make the semi finals.....all 4 semi finalists achieved something - did they not? What does your comment say about the 11 teams who didn't make the semis? That they shouldn't even be playing? Chicken of a frikkin surfboard mate.

      Dave - 2012-04-02 11:08

      What I was trying to point out was that the Crusaders lost the final in a year that they had to cope with huge distractions and no home ground. They and their supporters consider the year to be a failure. Stormers supporters just seem to crow about winning a meaningless 'top of the SA conference cup'.

      vdwjasper - 2012-04-02 11:41

      Dave, are you a lady? Real men don't put words in another's mouth. Real men are rational and they comment within context. Neither Verweyc or Saffa mentioned that the Stormers regarded last year as a success. We were all bitterly disappointed. Full stop.. The context of the statement was the similarities between the 2011 Stormers and the 2012 Reds. Fact is, with all the injuries the Stormers had last year, through grit and application they still managed to put themselves in with a great shot at the title. Verweyc only reinforced a comment made by the Reds captain with a relevant example.

  • Geronimo - 2012-04-02 08:03

    How come their "road trip" is only 3 games long? And that's including a game in their own country (against the Force). The South African teams have to deal with 4 consecutive games outside of SA against NZ and Aus teams. Hardly fair, is it?

      Renny - 2012-04-02 08:24

      Good point, but arent they still going to NZ?

      Nigel - 2012-04-02 08:28

      good point , not to mention the refs & the SANZAR bias.

      Dave - 2012-04-02 09:38

      South Africans only have one road trip and a huge advantage over NZAnd Aust teams while at home. Stop bleating tosser.

  • Pomene - 2012-04-02 08:55

    Dit gee nou baie meer perspektief aan die twee laaste scores - 61-8 teen die 3 maal vorige "champs" en dan 45-19 teen die "bottom of the log" Western Force

  • Saffa - 2012-04-02 09:27

    Gooooooooooooood morning chaps (and bitterbekkie Bulls balls, babes and gogos). Glorious weekend was it not? Briefly scanning the comments straight after the game it seems there were a few 'betrayed, bewildered, confused and bitter Bulls munchkins venting here...hehehehehhe) No worry chaps - we won the game - you won the fashion show (you looked like f@rkin marshmallow easter eggs.....) Now I will have none of this Bulls talk about 'inexperience' and 'age' - your average age is 26, ours is 24. As for Bok caps - your side is littered with Boks.......check the numbers :) Just sad your 'Boks' i.e. 'Paul Kruger' Macguyver power puff Greyling and his girlfriends Flip and Juandre wanted to play smackdown and not rugga.....It cost the Bulls DEARLY.......I have 3 personal highlights from the game: 1) Bryan Habana asking Paul Kruger Greyling where all that pesky gold is.... 2)Meisie 'air punching/zapping' the Newlands crowd glorious in his pink....... 3)Spies wishing the Stormers well on their tour when his face said the polar opposite.....BWHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Gloating is fun.

      Lionel - 2012-04-02 09:45

      Morning Saffa,Kaap is weer Hollands:):):)We beat the old enemy, we run by the DA,great weather!!!!!!!!!!!! Morne Steyns kicking is a worry for them and of course old Spies's thinking that they can score by mauling the ball against one of the best defensive units out and not taking the points....just wonderful!!!!!!!

      Saffa - 2012-04-02 10:00

      Howdy Lionel - :) Oh indeed it is wonderful to be a Capetonian :) In fact I believe Wynie Strydom (who looked resplendent in his salmon pink tie on Saturday), had to inject Hougie and Sadie in order to get them back on the plane yesterday....They had apparently chained themselves to their hotel beds, refusing to leave CT.A few of the Bulls fans round here might FINALLY understand why I (for one) was not that distressed with Sadie's loss, as explained by Rassie at the time....(and now the chap has ice on his thigh again....very sad) I love the way these Bulls chaps are congratulating us, and then immediately jumping into all the excuses.....hehehehehheheehe.

  • verweyc - 2012-04-02 10:55

    @Dave maybe you should read my comment again, and have some one with some IQ translate and explain it to you. The Stormers managed to end 2nd on the log, I did not rant and rave as if they won the title at all. I just said that losing a few flyhalves should not take a championship side from being good to being mediocre.

      Dave - 2012-04-02 11:09

      Bla bla bla is all I heard.

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