The Sunday Mail
The Reds have dragged Australian rugby to a new low, mercilessly flogged 63-28 by the winless Sunwolves in Tokyo.
The Reds were nothing short of embarrassing from the opening whistle, offering little resistance as the home side scored points for fun.
Gone was the Queensland side which held the Lions scoreless in the first term last start, replaced by a team that looked as though they expected to win.
They were out-enthused in defence, incredibly ill-disciplined and remarkably one dimensional in attack.
If any of the fans in Tokyo were watching rugby for the first time, they would have been forgiven for mistaking the Sunwolves for Super Rugby contenders — not the winless team well beaten by almost all comers to date.
The poor tone was set in the opening five minutes, in which Ben Lucas had two box kicks charged down, the ball was turned over twice and two penalties were awarded from no further than 30 out, directly in front. Sunwolves flyhalf Hayden Parker was striking the ball cleanly all afternoon and quickly turned those penalties into points, opening up a 6-0 lead.
The Reds responded through a rolling maul try to Brandon Paenga-Amosa but another penalty gifted Parker three more points, Queensland forced to respond through a blindside burst from Lucas. It was all downhill for the Reds from there, who, remarkably, had been clinging on for dear life when the Sunwolves had the ball through the first 20.
Parker was the general but unnecessary kicking, sloppy breakdown work and to the Sunwolves’ credit, some scintillating attack on their behalf, quickly turned a 14-9 deficit into a 42-14 lead, as the home side amassed 33 unanswered points.
One of those tries, to Grant Hattingh, was scored off a blatant forward pass that neither the TMO or referee Egon Seconds noticed, but the others were simply too much for the Reds to handle.
A brilliant inside pass from Michael Little put Parker over three minutes after Hattingh crossed in the 30th and a pair of penalty goals in the 41st and 42nd minute, respectively, showed there was little Brad Thorn could say to his side at the break which made any tangible difference.
The brainless play which Queensland had displayed was best exemplified in Hosea Saumaki’s try in the 53rd minute, when not one player thought to defend the blindside from 15 metres out, the winger plucking the ball from the back of the breakdown and strolling over.
Another Parker penalty goal followed before the Reds responded with two consolation tries of their own, Saumaki scoring a late hat trick to notch an incredible half century in front of his home fans.
The final siren rung out as Parker slotted his 12th shot at goal of the afternoon, marking the end of an afternoon Australian rugby fans will remember for all the wrong reasons.
Tries: Hattingh, Little, Saumaki 3, Penalty Try
Cons: Parker 5
Pens: Parker 7
Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Lucas, Scott-Young, Daugunu
Cons: Lance 4 —Rugby.com.au