WITH their third loss on the trot now in the books, Queensland Reds now have the unenviable task of hosting the all-conquering Hurricanes. Here’s five things we learned from the Reds’ loss to the Jaguares.

1. MISSING QUADE’S FLARE

The attacking options for the Reds have shrunk as expected with Quade Cooper under suspension for two more games. Replacement Jake McIntyre doesn’t have the same variety or vision to his game at flyhalf but not getting the ball to weapon Samu Kerevi more often was a basic mistake.

2. BOX THE BOX KICK

Someone needs to explain why the box kick from a halfback at the ruckbase is rugby’s greatest innovation … because it’s not. Hustling defence needs to descend on the kick-catcher not defenders who are shrugged off as in the case of the Ramiro Moyano try.

3. HURRICANE IS COMING

The Reds have already messed up three potential wins in five games and it gets harder from here because the champion Hurricanes and their high-skilled game arrive at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. A 1-4 season will take a few major upsets to repair it.

4. HALFBACK UP FOR GRABS

Halfback is not set in stone. James Tuttle had a modest first start at No.9 but experienced replacement Nick Frisby looked at sea with a poor kick into the in-goal to give away possession and mistiming a pass for charging prop Taniela Tupou.

5. REDS SEEING YELLOW

Poor discipline is killing the Reds. That’s six yellow cards and a red in just five games and even the best teams struggle when undermanned.

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Rugby In Perth

BERNARD Foley’s back, the Waratahs win.

Ho hum, right?

After all, as highlighted before Friday’s derby, in the last two seasons NSW have won 59 per cent of their games when Foley’s at No 10 and just 29 per cent when he’s not.

But it wasn’t quite that simple as NSW had to fight back from a 25-6 hole against the Rebels to win 32-25 in an epic Super Rugby match in Melbourne.

Under pressure Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was clearly and understandably feeling the heat in his halftime interview with Fox Sports, admitting his side were “playing for their lives in the next 40 minutes.”

Gibson included.

With the season on an early week five knife edge — after a 1-3 start — it would be understandable if some panic buttons were being pushed in the sheds.

Absolutely not, according to Foley — who former Waratahs captain David Dennis liked to sometimes refer to as ‘Calm Dog.’

In his first run of the season after recovering from a “scary concussion,” the Wallabies playmaker provided the clear head the club had so sorely missed as David Horwitz crossed for an unlikely matchwinner in the 80th minute.

“It’s funny, at halftime we had a lot of belief, actually, in our attack,” Foley said of an opening 40 minutes which netted just two penalty kicks by himself.

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Bernard Foley of the Waratahs kicks a penalty goal at AAMI Park.
Bernard Foley of the Waratahs kicks a penalty goal at AAMI Park.Source: Getty Images

“We had a number of visits down to their 22 but just came away with no points.

“It (the message) was just to keep the belief, don’t get deterred and when we’re down in their half, just keep playing to our structures and it will come.

“To the boys’ credit, tonight we showed belief and it showed if we stick at it, we’re going to get the results.

“Yes, Daryl really read us the riot act there at halftime — he said our season was on the line and it was quite true.

“As an outfit, we’ve spoken about standing up and tonight we saw signs of that.”

There had been genuine fears for Foley’s future as he was sidelined for the opening month of Super Rugby following a head clash in the pre-season hitout against the Highlanders in Sydney.

The pivot had travelled to South Africa with the team but was forced to fly home early for a more serious assessment as the post-concussion symptoms lingered.

Concussion still sidelines All Blacks Charlie Ngatai and James Broadhurst and Foley had been only too aware of their plight.

Waratahs players pose with the Weary Dunlop Shield at AAMI Park.
Waratahs players pose with the Weary Dunlop Shield at AAMI Park.Source: Getty Images

But despite copping some early contact to the head against the fired-up Rebels, Foley did not allow the situation to affect his game.

“It was probably not ideal (the early hit) — but once you get in the game, all that stuff goes out the window and you just try to do the job at hand and get the result,” Foley told Fox Sports’ Sean Maloney and Greg Martin.

“The guys played well and we stuck to it, we showed belief and we just kept trying to keep the pressure on and come away with something and keep getting results.”

The onus was on senior men Foley, Michael Hooper and Israel Folau to lead the visitors out of their halftime hole and they did just that.

Foley described Hooper as “an incredible leader,” and the “Energizer Bunny,” who “puts his head in places where he shouldn’t as well.”

One win does not a season make but the Tahs can tuck away the Weary Dunlop Shield and adjust their sights to bigger prizes.

“We’ve got to start building that story now and tonight it was the first chapter,” Foley said.

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Rugby In Perth

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