7 May 2011

Reds tighten grip on Australian conference

6:22 am on 7 May 2011

The Queensland Reds punished the Melbourne Rebels for a string of defensive lapses to claim a 33-18 victory and take an iron grip on the Australian Super rugby conference on Friday night.

Although nowhere near as emphatic as their seven-try 53-3 demolition of the championship new boys in week five, tries from Scott Higginbotham, Radike Samo, Dom Shipperley and Digby Ioane helped the Reds to a 13-point lead over New South Wales in the standings.

First five Quade Cooper, who added 13 points with the boot, was not at his brilliant best but his Wallabies halfback partner Will Genia was irresistible as the Reds got back to winning ways after their upset loss to the Hurricanes last week.

The Rebels scored tries through James Hilgendorf, Afusipa Taumoepeau and Peter Betham and had the better of much of the second half but were left ruing poor tackling and profligate goalkicking.