Crusaders beat Reds before Super playoffs

The Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific season hangs in the balance after another tough loss against New Zealand-based opposition on Friday night.

They failed to keep the Crusaders in a 28-15 loss in Christchurch, and will meet again in the South Island city for next week’s quarter-finals.

Complete a run of terror for the Reds against the competing teams based in New Zealand, 0-5 in those meetings and outscored by a combined 63 points.

But Queensland captain Tate McDermott said a much more competitive second half would give them confidence that they could make some noise in the postseason.

“Really proud of how we managed to get it back and we’ll keep going,” he told Stan Sports.

“Not many teams get two chances in a row against the Crusaders and we’ll take the positives out of that game because we have to.”

“It was as simple as holding the ball, when we stuck to things better as a team and worked hard and put phases together, we looked really good…but it’s about doing that for longer periods of time.”

From the jump, the Crusaders showed themselves with an imperious touch, working their way through in the 12th minute through Fergus Burke after they pinched a scrum from a Queensland feed, while Will Jordan scored under the posts soon after.

And indeed they could start planning their revenge at the half when Brodie McAlister cruised for 21-3, his team running for an additional 217m in the first period.

The Reds were much more competitive in the second half and found a try through Richie Asiata to bring the score back to 21-10 when the hosts played a man down after Pablo Matera was booked for a dangerous shot.

A shock play for Crusader’s backup Tom Christie as soon as they received his full compliment was quickly called off by Red No. 8 Harry Wilson in the corner, but the Kiwis had done enough to claim the points.

The Crusaders kept up the good form, now with 38, 11, 58 and 13 points gained since their upset loss to the NSW Waratahs a month ago.

And captain Scott Barrett warned that his team could produce an even more clinical display within a week.

“The whole week we focus on ourselves and we don’t look too far ahead… it’s about us building momentum and playing some rugby that we’re proud of,” he told Stan Sports.

“We were creating in that first half and we had a little bit of a lack of patience and we weren’t clinical enough, come the playoffs those chances will probably be less.

The Crusaders were without flying half Richie Mo’unga and hooker Codie Taylor, and both are expected to be fit for next week’s clash after dealing with rib and finger injuries, respectively.

Queensland sorely missed the creativity of James O’Connor, as the fly-half’s season almost ended with a hamstring injury.

Matt Faessler left the field within five minutes after taking a big hit, and the hooker didn’t return.

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