McKenzie pleased with Reds composure and fitness

Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie says that he was really pleased with the team’s performance and intent after they got back to wining ways against the Waratahs.

The Reds started their Super Rugby season with a heavy 24-6 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra but turned it around and beat the Waratahs 25-17 a week later.

“Any win against New South Wales (the Waratahs) is a great win. We’ve still got the trophy and it’s another win,” said McKenzie .

“We’re really pleased with our aggression and our intent. We stuck at it as long as we needed to and got the third try to seal the game, so I was really pleased.”

“In the end, Quirky came up with something special,” McKenzie said about Ed Quirk’s break that led to Ben Tapuai’s second try.

“I thought some of our tackling was of the highest order, the best I’ve seen some of it.”

“That’s a sign of attitude and if you have that you have something to work with. We were certainly better in the physical battle today than we were last week. “

Tries to winger Dom Shipperley and centre Ben Tapuai in the opening half gave the Reds a comfortable 17-3 lead at halftime, however the Waratahs scored twice early in the second half to level scores at 17-all with 20 minutes to play.

A Mike Harris penalty gave the Reds a slim three-point lead 10 minutes later but it was Reds flanker Eddie Quirk who broke the deadlock, beating five defenders in the midfield before offloading from the ground at the line to Tapuai for his second try of the night.

A humble Quirk said he was pleased to contribute to the team’s victory when asked about his match-winning effort.

“It was just normal footy instinct. I got the ball, straightened up and luck went my way,” Quirk said.

“I just went for it and saw the white line and thought it was all systems go. Benny (Tapuai) always seems to be in the right place at the right time, so we were just happy to get over the line in the end.

“You have to take opportunities, so we just went with it and it just happened to come off. It’s pretty pleasing.”

McKenzie praised the Reds composure and fitness in the concluding stages of the match.

“We have to be fit to play the way we play, with the ball in hand,” he said.

“One thing I’ll never allow is anyone to question the fitness of the team. Head Performance Coach Damian Marsh and his team make sure we are always fit.

“The forwards have to be fit enough to keep up and generate opportunity in our game. If your forwards stand on the spot you don’t have much to work with. Our forwards don’t stand still and they keep moving.

“Teams will fatigue you but you recover. The last try was a good example. We were under a lot of pressure for a long time but we were able to snipe an opportunity and go 50 metres to score.”

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