Super Rugby Pacific: Blues too good for Reds

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

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

The Reds have gone winless at Eden Park for the past 10 years following the Blues’ comprehensive 53-26 win.

While the Reds will be in the first eight Super Rugby Pacific finals, their current form suggests they will only make up the numbers after the playoffs, such is their poor record against Kiwi sides.

An away win against the table-top Blues was always going to be a tough one, but the Reds’ latest defeat continues to expose their inability to get the better of their New Zealand rivals.

Having won seven of their first eight matches, all against sides from the Australian section of the competition, the Queenslanders have lost four games in a row since the start of the crossover period with Kiwi sides last month.

After being competitive and held in front before succumbing to the Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders, the Reds never seemed to win 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 points.

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 a offensive.

But while the Reds looked good in attack, they again paid the price for a poor defensive performance and schoolboy mistakes – two in particular from No8 Seru Uru – which contributed to the Blues’ eight trials .

Reds manager Brad Thorn lamented his side’s poor defending, with the Queenslanders missing more than 30 tackles.

“It’s way too much,” Thorn said.

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

“They were physical, they played very good football. We were poor in (defense).

The hosts scored the first two tries of the game through substitute center Bryce Heem and winger Caleb Clarke to take a 17-0 lead after just 19 minutes.

As the Reds recovered to cut the Blues’ lead to eight points at half-time, a devastating start to the second half from the competition’s best side ended any slim hopes of a victory for the Reds. queensland.

By the 58th minute, the Blues were leading 39-14 thanks to second-half tries from Clarke, star fly-half Beauden Barrett and full-back Stephen Perofeta.

Each team scored two tries in the final 20 minutes as the game was well and truly dusted off.

Rubbing even more salt into Queensland’s injuries were two more additions to an already long list of casualties, with center Hunter Paisami and hooker Albert Anae both substituted in the first half.

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