The QLD Reds have retained the Bob Templeton cup, running out 46-14 winners over the NSW Waratahs at Stadium Australia.
The Waratahs got off to a great start, with Will Harrison punishing the Reds poor discipline with two quick penalties to give the hosts a 6-0 lead by the 6th minute.
The Reds hit back with scrumhalf Tate McDermott catching the Waratahs defence napping in the 13th minute, busting through some poor defence to score the first try of the night. James O’Connor added the extras to give the hosts the 7-6 lead.
The Waratahs bad luck with injuries continued, losing starting locks Sam Caird (concussion) and Sam Wykes (bicep), midway through the first half which tested the Waratahs bench early.
Tate McDermott was again the danger man for the Reds in the 29th minute, setting up a try for Lukhan Salakai-Loto down the blind side. O’Connor kicked the conversion, as well as a penalty in the 36th minute to give the Reds an 17-6 lead.
Will Harrison closed the gap to 17-9 with another penalty goal, but Filipo Daugunu broke the hosts hearts at the stroke of half-time, catching a pin perfect cross field kick to dot down in the corner. James O’Connor missed the conversion, leaving the score 22-9 at the break.
Tate McDermott continued to trouble the Waratahs in the second half. The scrumhalf took a quick tap in the 50th minute from just outside the 22, forcing the Waratahs defence on the back foot before finding Taniela Tupou who barged over in the corner for a try, extended the lead to 27-9.
The Waratahs desperately tried to stay in the match and hit back with a brilliant try of their own. Jack Maddocks found Lalakai Foketi with a beautiful cut out ball before the midfielder offloaded to Will Harris to score in the corner. Will Harrison missed the conversion to leave the score 27-14.
Alex Mafi went on a try scoring spree for the Reds, scoring a hat-trick in the final 18 minutes of the match. Mafi scored his first two tries off rolling mauls in the 62nd and 67th minute and crashed over from close range in the 77th minute after sustained Reds pressure in the Waratahs 22. Bryce Hegarty converted all three of Mafi’s tries for an end score of 46-14.
Despite the result there were positives for the home side, with Max Douglas making his Super Rugby debut and Izaia Perese performing well in his return from suspension.
The Waratahs will face the Brumbies in Round 7 of Super Rugby AU at the Sydney Cricket Ground next Friday 2nd April.
Reds 46 (Tries: Mafi 3, McDermott, Daugunu, Salakai-Loto, Tupou Conversions: O’Connor 2, Hegarty 2 Penalties: O’Connor) defeated Waratahs 14 (Tries: Harris Penalties: Harrison 3) at Stadium Australia, Sydney
WARATAHS (1-15): Harry Johnson-Holmes, David Porecki, Tetara Faulkner, Sam Wykes, Sam Caird, Hugh Sinclair, Carlo Tizzano, Will Harris, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, James Ramm, Izaia Perese, Lalakai Foketi, Alex Newsome (c), Jack Maddocks
Reserves: Tom Horton, Angus Bell, Darcy Breen, Jeremy Williams, Max Douglas, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Mark Nawaqanitawase
REDS: (1-15): Dane Zander, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Ryan Smith, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Seru Uru, Tate McDermott, James O'Connor (c), Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell
Reserves: Alex Mafi, Richie Asiata, Zane Nonggorr, Harry Wilson, Sam Wallis, Kalani Thomas, Hamish Stewart, Bryce Hegarty