The Queensland Reds have smashed the luckless NSW Waratahs 41-7 in a record win at Suncorp Stadium.
It was Queensland’s biggest ever victory over their traditional rivals, who lost centre Izaia Perese to a red card and captain Jake Gordon to a concerning injury on a horror night for the visitors.
“What a performance,” Tim Horan said on Nine/Stan Sport as the Reds reclaimed the prized Bob Templeton Cup in an all-action opening match of the 2021 Super Rugby AU season.
First-time Reds captain James O’Connor was naturally thrilled with the first-up victory.
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“When they got the red card we could have lost our shape,” O’Connor said, while adding that the Perese dismissal – for a dangerous tip tackle on Hunter Paisami – was regrettable.
“We want to have 15 on 15 to make it fairer but those are the rules and you’ve got to stick to them.”
Waratahs flanker Hugh Sinclair admitted Gordon’s injury did not look good.
“It looked like a high ankle sprain,” Sinclair said.
“Hopefully he’s not out for too long.”
Former Wallabies and NSW coach Michael Cheika said the Reds had “dominated” the Waratahs physically.
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“We just had some weak moments mentally and got exposed,” NSW coach Rob Penney said, while accepting the Perese send off.
Perese – jettisoned by the Broncos over drug offences last year – was playing well before the brain fade.
“It was a fair call, no doubt,” Penney said.
“Just feel so heartbroken for Izzy.
“He’s come back to try and restore his reputation but we’ll support him because we love him.
“He’s playing his old club, a bit of over-arousal and he just overplayed his card.”
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