Rugby News

Rugby-O'Connor shines as rampant Reds defuse Force to go top

SYDNEY, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Filipo Daugunu and Tate McDermott both grabbed two tries as the Queensland Reds hammered the Western Force 57-5 on the Gold Coast on Friday evening to move to the top of the Super Rugby AU standings.

Reds flyhalf James O’Connor scored one of his team’s eight tries and added 17 points from the kicking tee in a sparkling performance that will only burnish his claim to the Australia number 10 jersey for the test season later this year.

Playing against his old team, O’Connor had hands in both of winger Daugunu’s scores in the first half and produced an outrageous offload to send Fraser McReight in for Queensland’s third try in the 56th minute.

Scrumhalf McDermott, who has plenty of backers for his own Wallabies ambitions, then showed quick wits to score two tries in five minutes and later came up a metre short of a hat-trick after moving to the wing.

O’Connor along with replacements Bryce Hegarty and Tuaina Taii Tualima crossed in the last 10 minutes to inflate the score and help the Reds end a 10-match winless streak on the road with their biggest ever tally in an away game.

Perth-based Force were technically the home side at the Robina Stadium in southeast Queensland as they contest the season in exile because of travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

They scored a try through former Reds hooker Andrew Ready early in the second half but crumbled after prop Kieran Longbottom was sent to the sin bin in the 53rd minute and finished the night still seeking their first win.

The Reds top the standings by three points from the ACT Brumbies, who play the New South Wales Waratahs in Canberra in the second round-eight match on Saturday. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Christian Radnedge)