Chiefs kick away to trial win over Reds

Murray Wenzel
Coach Brad Thorne was disappointed by the Reds' trial defeat to the Chiefs at Ballymore

Three tries from kicks have helped the Chiefs sink the Queensland Reds in their final hit-out before their Super Rugby opener later this month.

The New Zealand side prevailed 21-19 at Ballymore on Friday night, with the Reds mixing dropped ball with scrum dominance in a fightback that fell just short.

Brad Thorn's men were slow out of the blocks but levelled at 14-14 when both Harry Hoopert and Tate McDermott finished probing sequences for the hosts.

Tyler Campbell ran onto a cross-field chip kick to put the Chiefs ahead again before Ruan Smith scored for the Reds, with a missed Filipo Daugunu conversion from the left touchline the difference in front of nearly 5000 rowdy fans.

"We worked hard for a loss," Thorn said, while complementing the side's scrum dominance and fitness on a muggy Brisbane night.

"It's disappointing because if someone's going to score against you, you want it to be an absolute tussle.

"Two easy ones, then we spent the game getting back to that space then another easy one."

The Chiefs fielded just five members of the side that lost a tight Super Rugby quarter-final to the Hurricanes last season.

But they were the far-sharper outfit early, exposing the Reds twice inside the first 10 minutes with kicks to build a 14-0 lead.

First Shaun Stevenson ran onto a long kick to score in the right corner after an innocuous spilt Reds ball on halfway.

Bailyn Sullivan then added a second for the Chiefs, jumping on a simple grubber that found new Reds fullback Bryce Hegarty out of position.

There was no shortage of scrum practice at least, with the Reds holding sway in that department and drawing a yellow card after repeated offences by the visitors.

But repeated dropped ball meant the Reds couldn't capitalise on the numerical advantage.

Caleb Timu ran the ball strongly for the Reds, while the young bench, led by Smith, Hoopert, McDermott and Isaac Lucas, showed plenty once promoted in the second half.

"Our attack; there wasn't much going on and finally some life (in the second half)," Thorn said.

"The first half I imagine would've been a tough one for the fans."

Wallabies lock Izack Rodda and veteran prop JP Smith were rested from the clash, with no major injuries reported in what was an otherwise full-strength Queensland line-up.

The Reds have a first-round Super Rugby bye, with their first game away to the Highlanders on February 22.