Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) – A rejuvenated Queensland Reds staved off a powerful Golden Lions finish to claim their Super Rugby clash 27-22 in Brisbane Saturday, while the Jaguares beat the Blues for their first ever win over a New Zealand side.
The Reds, coming off four losses, set up their shock win with a rousing four-try first half to lead 24-0 at half-time and battled hard to hold on in the second half.
The Jaguares, full of confidence after beating the ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels in the past two weeks, came from behind in Auckland to beat the Blues 20-13.
The Reds, coached by former All Black lock Brad Thorn, jumped to third in the Australian conference with four wins from nine games, while the Lions, with six wins from 10, remain top in South Africa.
“Last week you could tell quite early we weren’t quite there, but this afternoon that first try in the first five minutes was indicative of how we wanted to play, be aggressive in the contact area,” Reds veteran flanker George Smith said.
“We came out well for that first 10 minutes of the second half and we were holding on in the last 30.”
Jean-Pierre Smith, Caleb Timu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Smith all scored for the Reds in the first half.
The spluttering Lions finally scored through their outstanding hooker Malcolm Marx to trail 27-5 after 55 minutes.
Marx powered over once more and replacement Marnus Schoeman added two further tries before the Lions revival ran out of time and they had to settle for a losing bonus point.
The Jaguares and Blues battled away in persistent rain in Auckland which detracted from a spectacle which was not helped by 24 penalties, 15 of them by the Blues.
The Jaguares scored first with an Agustin Creevy try while the Blues were down to 14 men with Akira Ioane in the sin bin.
The Blues replied with tries to Tumua Manu and Matt Duffie, with a penalty by Stephen Perofeta to lead 13-5 at the end of an extended first half.
It continued for an extra seven minutes as the Jaguares took repeated scrums from five consecutive penalties on the Blues line but they were unable to score and the referee saw no need for another yellow card nor a penalty try.
The Argentinians stepped up the pressure as they demolished the Blues pack in the second half and were rewarded with tries to Emiliano Boffelli and Tomas Lezana with a conversion and penalty by Nicolas Sanchez.
The win moved the Jaguares into the top eight to the delight of captain Joaquin Tuculet.
“We are very happy,” he said.
“In the second half we played very well and we won the game. The forwards, their work was amazing and the scrum and lineout, so our win is for them.”