Re­al­ity sinks in for Reds as sea­son ends

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JIM TUCKER

KARMICHAEL Hunt’s an­kle in­jury and the sloppy er­rors that have cursed the Reds all sea­son com­bined in a pre­dictable 40- 17 sign- off loss to the High­landers in freez­ing Dunedin last night.

The Reds end a sea­son of far higher hopes with just four vic­to­ries from 15 starts and the tough re­al­ity they are still an­chored in Su­per Rugby’s B di­vi­sion.

As ever, there were spo­radic highs with flanker Caleb Timu pro­duc­ing a strong 10- run first start and prop Taniela Tupou at his bul­lock­ing best. The fi­nals­bound High­landers played with a speed and pre­ci­sion that was a class above when they clicked with slicker han­dling, more pen­e­tra­tive run­ning and a bet­ter or­gan­ised game style.

The Ki­wis scored six tries to three as a to­tally fair re­flec­tion of their dom­i­nance un­der the sta­dium roof that kept out a murky 5C Kiwi night.

The game was al­ready be­yond the Reds just af­ter half­time when they trailed 26- 5 but again they should curse in­ept fin­ish­ing and sloppy ex­its from their quar­ter.

The Reds will judge pos­i­tives from this year but struc­tural is­sues on de­fence, scram­blin­gand- grind­ing bet­ter and fin­ish­ing chances far bet­ter are big is­sues not to be glossed over.

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