The Queensland Reds crashed to their fifth Super Rugby defeat in a row in controversial circumstances to the Blues last night.
Two contentious yellow cards in two minutes midway through the first half cruelled any chance the Reds had of breaking their six-year drought at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Red mist: Scott Higginbotham attempts to rally the troops in the controversial loss.
While they were reduced to 13 men, the Blues ran in two tries to open up a 21-6 lead at half-time and they were never headed despite seeing two yellow cards of their own in the second half.
Despite tries from Duncan Paia’aua and Alex Mafi and their dominance of the set-piece, Queensland failed to take advantage and their comeback fell well short.
Coach Brad Thorn will feel aggrieved with the way his side’s early momentum was halted by the men in charge. Rookie winger Jordan Petaia was the first Reds player sent to the bin in the 23rd minute for what television match official Ben Skeen deemed a dangerous lifting tackle on Blues centre Michael Collins.
Two minutes later, he was joined on the sidelines by Taniela Tupou, who was carded for a low no-arms tackle on Blues prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Replays suggested Tupou tried to wrap his arms around Tu’ungafasi’s ankles but was knocked back by his opponent’s leg.
Staggeringly, neither the referee nor TMO saw fit to punish Jerome Kaino for an arguably worse hit on Scott Higginbotham five minutes into the contest. Kaino’s attempted clean-out was more of a shoulder charge that struck Higginbotham flush on the right side of his back.
Former All Blacks flanker Kaino was playing his last match in Auckland before his move to Europe but his big farewell started disastrously as he spilled an attempted catch at the kick-off.
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