Blues pip Reds in warm up

Former Waratah Morgan Turinui was denied a Queensland debut to remember after the Blues pipped the Reds on the bell in their Super 14 trial at Ballymore last night.

The Auckland-based visitors dramatically crossed through George Pisi with 18 seconds left to win a willing affair 25-19 after Turinui inspired a late Reds rally, reports the NZ Herald.

The outside centre capped a fine all-round display by sparking a penalty try which regained the lead for the home side in a frantic final 10 minutes, which included three tries.

Trailing 18-12 with five minutes to go, former Wallabies vice-captain Turinui scythed through the Blues’ midfield defence before unloading to Ben Lucas, who was swamped by off-side defence on the line.


Referee Paul Marks pointed to the sticks and then Lucas duly slotted the conversion for a 19-18 lead. But the score was to change one more time.

Reds big man Hugh McMeniman stole a Blues lineout on his line but an ensuing fumble gave the visitors one last chance. Blues reserve Pisi then killed off the Reds when he finished a fine backline move from the scrum for a try next to the posts.

Turinui had plenty of other moments to savour, both in defence and attack, as he made a stirring start beside fellow former NSW centre Chris Siale.


Stand-in skipper Sam Cordingley, back-up Lucas and tireless flanker David Croft were also impressive in the full-strength Reds’ second trial loss.

But star fullback Chris Latham had a match he’d rather forget in his last game at Queensland’s traditional Ballymore home. Latham was uncharacteristically butter-fingered, dropping half a dozen balls in the muggy conditions, including two after the Reds ignored easy second-half penalty attempts that would have put them in front.

The Blues preferred to take their kicks at goal and the three-pointers by Nick Evans and Isa Nacewa were the difference in the end. The willing Queenslanders hassled the Blues all night but lacked precision in attack.

Queensland had led 12-0 after as many minutes when flanker David Croft darted over from a messy five-metre scrum and winger Brando Va’aulu finished an 80m counter-attack sparked by prop Rodney Blake’s turnover.

The 5,465-strong Brisbane crowd held its breath as Berrick Barnes limped off at the end of the first half with the Reds leading 12-10.

But the Wallabies playmaker, who copped a nasty knock in deftly putting Latham through a gap, re-appeared after the break before finishing early with a slight cork.

Hooker Sean Hardman was the only other injury concern for new Reds coach Phil Mooney, who was otherwise pleased by his side’s performance. “We certainly did create chances,” he said.

“At the end of the day both sides treated it as a trial. It would have been nice to win it but it’s certainly not the Super 14 so I’m not unhappy. “Morgan showed he will be tremendous asset. He was terrific at the end.”

Queensland wore their alternative green jerseys rushed in from Sydney for the game after a laundromat fire destroyed their kit yesterday.

A QRU staffer flew south to personally accompany the EnergyAustralia-sponsored jerseys back in time for the evening trial.

Sapa –

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