Queensland’s Super Rugby Pacific losing streak is over, but injuries continue to hurt the Reds.
The Queensland Reds have had a streak of straight losses, but a 34-22 win over Super Rugby Pacific cellarmen Moana Pasifika may have come at an expensive price, with opening half James O’Connor sustaining another injury at the knee.
Having only returned in the Reds’ 27-point defeat to the Blues last week after missing three games with knee ligament damage, O’Connor was replaced after an hour at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Wallabies star looked displeased on the Reds bench when ice was applied to the back of his knee before he was tied in plastic.
O’Connor walked with a noticeable limp as he shook hands with Pasifika players after the game.
He wasn’t the only Reds player injured, with center Josh Flook dislocating his shoulder with 15 minutes to go.
The injuries came in an unconvincing and patchy victory for the Reds, who failed to reach top gear at any one time against the worst team in the competition.
Despite finishing a four-game losing streak, the Queenslanders will need to improve performance substantially if they are to have a chance to win in the first eight series of finals next month.
Poor discipline was again a problem for the Reds with hooker Matt Faessler and flanker Fraser McReight both sinners in the second half when the hosts suffered a string of penalties.
“It wasn’t perfect at all and we’ll probably be critical on Monday,” said Reds captain Tate McDermott.
“Discipline was disappointing at times, but our attack (went) well when we held the ball, so it’s just our ability to do it for longer periods of time.
“We are just happy with the result. That’s what the group needs to go to the final. “
The Reds led 24-10 at half-time, beating the visitors by four tries to one in the first 40 minutes.
Full-back Jock Campbell scored two of the five points, with the return of McReight and prop Harry Hoopert also crossing for tries.
However, he needed Pasifika to score the first try of the match – via flanker Solomon Funaki in the fourth minute – to awaken the Reds from an early numbness.
Two of the Queensland tries came as Pasifika only had 14 men on the field for 10 minutes after number 8 Henry Time-Stowers was booked for a dangerous tackle on McReight.
Reds star Jordan Petaia also spent 10 minutes off the pitch after having to pass a concussion test following a heavy tackle.
Some ordinary Queensland defenses allowed flanker Sione Tu’ipulotu to score early in the second half as Pasifika dragged himself back into the game.
The Reds’ only try in the second half came from number 8 Harry Wilson, who intercepted a pass near the Pasifika line to override.
After Time-Stowers scored a consolation try in the last minute, Queensland’s hopes of reaping a bonus point in addition to the four points for the win were dashed when what appeared to be a try after Captain Tate’s siren. McDermott was not awarded due to a forward pass in the buildup of Seru Uru.
Originally published as James O’Connor and Josh Flook injured in Queensland’s 34-22 win over Moana Pasifika