Slipper puts Reds loss down to poor discipline

Reds captain James Slipper has blamed a lack of discipline for their 20-13 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The Reds loss ended a four match winning streak over the Highlanders which dated back to 2009.

Slipper said that he was frustrated at the loss to the Highlanders.

“Our discipline let us down, too many penalties in the first half and we were playing catch-up footy from then on,” he said.

The match was not without positives for the Queenslanders as James O’Connor made his debut for the Reds and showed glimpses of his talent.

“It’s good to have him back, it’s just a shame we couldn’t get the win for him and for Queensland,” Slipper said.

Reds head coach Richard Graham said his side were disappointed to leave Dunedin with only a losing bonus point, but he was also able to take some positives from the defeat.

“I am disappointed because we didn’t get the result we came for. The effort of the group was very good but we will be asking ourselves questions like ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ because of the number of opportunities we created yet didn’t capitalise on,” he said.

“We began the game well, but then got sucked into a battle of field position that we lost. We kicked aimlessly at times which allowed them to spend over 60% of the game in our half. We went away from our strategy and got dragged into theirs. They were physical and I give them credit for the disciplined approach they had.

“The set piece was a bit of a lottery. Both teams scrummed well but nothing clean came of it. The lineout not too different if I am being honest.

“Our defensive effort was solid given they had the majority of position and possession. The boys scrambled well and at times had three defenders carrying the ball carrier into touch near our try line. The boys will take a lot of confidence from that aspect of the game.

“It was smart to take the three points at the end of the game to secure a losing bonus point. At the end of the rounds every point counts and you need to accumulate them wherever you can.

“We’ll push hard over the next week to ensure we address some aspects of our game ahead of next weekend.

“We had a few more players available for selection this week and are hoping for more to return ahead of playing New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium next weekend.”

The Reds now return to Brisbane where they will take on the Waratahs next Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

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