Reds won’t blame O’Connor for loss to Sharks

The Reds will not be blaming James O’Connor for their 14-21 Super Rugby loss to the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Friday.

O’Connor gifted the Sharks a try in 69th-minute with a poor clearance kick that went straight to Sharks halfback Stefan Ungerer who picked up the softest try of his career.

The Sharks try took the wind out of the Sharks sails and ended any chance of a comeback after the Reds had fought back to within two points at 14-16.

Reds coach Richard Graham says that O’Connor will bounce back from the blunder which allowed the Sharks to end a six match losing streak.

“It’s hard to point the finger at one person,” Graham told AAP.

“After that, I thought even our effort to try and salvage something out of it was excellent.

“But that’s an individual error, if you look across the game there was plenty of those.”

The Reds were their own worst enemy in the match and turned the ball over 21 times, made nine linebreaks to the Sharks’ three and had the majority of possession but could not beat the Sharks.

The Reds performance was nothing like their showing last week against the Rebels and was more like the misfiring Reds that played before John Connolly’s arrival.

“It’s almost like the efforts from last week were compromised, negated by not getting the result and not backing that up,” Graham said.

“We probably stood back and watched the game a little bit tonight.”

Reds captain James Slipper said that they would “rally around” O’Connor who has fought his way into the team despite some inconsistent form and injuries.

“It’s a team sport,” Slipper said.

“You never like seeing individuals take a blow like that.”

“It’s obviously not what we wanted but we’re going to have to rally around him.”

James O’Connor blunder kick

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