Cooper shines as Reds topple Cheetahs

Last updated 00:36 08/03/2014
Quade Cooper
REDS WINNER: Quade Cooper.

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Quade Cooper became Queensland’s record point-scorer and the Reds bagged five tries, but they still have concerns after a Jekyll-and-Hyde 43-33 win over the Cheetahs on Friday night.

Cooper finished with 18 points to break Elton Flatley’s Super Rugby mark of 629 career points while centre Chris Feauai-Sautia scored a brace of tries at Suncorp Stadium.

It was a crucial victory for the home side, who now set off on a two-match tour of South Africa, but coach Richard Graham won’t be  pleased with their performance.

In one of the crazier encounters in 19 Super seasons, both sides were their own worst enemies in the frenetic 76-point affair in  front of 27,760 fans.

It was 14-14 after 12 minutes and six tries were scored in the  first half as the Reds took a 29-20 lead into the break.

Smashed 32-5 by the Waratahs last week, Queensland’s attack  improved but their ill-discipline and decision-making almost undid  them against the freewheeling visitors.

The Reds created more chances and should have shut the tiring  Cheetahs out at 40-26 up with 10 minutes to play but invited them  back in through a flurry of flaky moments.

The Cheetahs’ scrum also dominated while bloodied flanker Liam  Gill’s night finished early due to a first-half head clash with Ed  Quirk that has him in doubt for next weekend’s match with the  Sharks in Durban.

It was Cooper’s grubber kick for Feauai-Sautia’s second try in  the 54th minute that seemed to kill off the visitors, but the  Cheetahs were helped back with Sarel Pretorius setting up a late  Elgar Watts try.

The scene had been set in the opening 90 seconds when Queensland  were awarded a penalty try and Cheetahs winger Ryano Benjamin was  sin-binned for kicking the ball out of Feauai-Sautia’s hands as he  attempted to plant the ball on the goal-line.

But in the time they were down to 14 men the visitors crossed  twice, with Willie le Roux charging down another ill-conceived Will  Genia box-kick for Francois Venter to score before Cooper threw a  wayward spiral pass for Boom Prinsloo to intercept and canter 50m.

Cooper redeemed himself by floating another cut-out over two  defenders but this time it hit Mike Harris who skilfully gave it to  Rod Davies, who sped down the sideline.

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While Cheetahs sharpshooter Johan Goosen kicked two long-range  penalty goals, the Reds continued to test the visitors’ defence and  bagged two more tries late in the half for a 29-20 lead at the  break.


- AAP

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