Reds rampant in Super AU win over Tahs

·3-min read

An injury to captain Jake Gordon and a moment of madness from returning talent Izaia Perese have compounded the NSW Waratahs' woes after a record 41-7 loss to the Queensland Reds in their Super Rugby AU opener.

Nine minutes of brilliance on Friday were all the Reds needed to spark the new-look season into life, their five-tries-to-one win being a seventh-straight at Suncorp Stadium and a Super Rugby record victory over their rivals.

The hosts had scored 24 of their points by the 18th minute but only after the Waratahs had scored first - their only points of the night - in a whirlwind opener that did justice to the rule tweaks made to encourage attacking play.

The Waratahs hung tough but Perese's red card for a reckless, late flipping tackle on Hunter Paisami and ankle injuries to Gordon and Joey Walton shape as huge blows for Rob Penney's young side.

"He's a big loss, it wouldn't be great for us," Penney said of Gordon, who was the Waratahs' try scorer and best on ground until he departed with 15 minutes to play.

"We created a couple of little glimpses but we weren't good enough ... that period when we got the ball we let it go too cheaply, some defensive howlers, some weak moments mentally that really cost us against a Reds side with that firepower in that backline."

Halfback Gordon scored inside three minutes of his first game as skipper as the Waratahs threatened a boilover but, led by five-eighth James O'Connor, the Reds piled on 41 straight points.

Leading the Reds in place of the injured Liam Wright, O'Connor slotted a penalty to begin proceedings and was then given the benefit of the doubt when his final pass to try-scorer Jock Campbell looked to have floated forward.

Hooker Alex Mafi then hung on to a low pass and twisted over from close range in his 50th game before Filipo Daugunu finished a Paisami line-break.

Suddenly it was 24-7 with 22 minutes still to play in the half, Angus Scott-Young's terrific low tackle on the line denying Gordon a second try to maintain their advantage.

Peresi was able to be replaced after 20 minutes as part of the tournament's rule tweaks but the Reds didn't put them away until Daugunu and debutant Ilaisa Droasese scored in the last 10 minutes.

O'Connor was perfect off the tee with five conversions and two penalties, while he created width with ball in hand to unleash the Reds' backrow still missing suspended NRL recruit Suliasi Vunivalu.

Tate McDermott was razor sharp in defence and around the ruck while second-year lock Seru Eru impressed for the Reds.

"There's some stuff we can sort out, but there was some really good, entertaining rugby in that first half," Reds coach Brad Thorn said.

"There was a bit of an abyss there for about 35 minutes but the guys got some pay there at the end."