Reds maintain their perfect start
● Second-half substitute Alex Mafi scored a hat-trick of tries as the Queensland Reds kept up their perfect start to this year’s Super Rugby AU campaign with a 46-14 away win over the New South Wales Waratahs at Stadium Australia yesterday.
The Reds went back above the ACT Brumbies in the standings and the hapless Waratahs had a fifth successive defeat.
The Reds ran in seven tries to register their biggest win in Sydney — and their first in the city for eight years — while the injury-hampered Waratahs have now conceded 201 points in their horror season, heightening concern over the impact on Australian rugby’s heartland.
Tate McDermott, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Filipo Daugunu all went over in the first half to take the Reds to a 22-9 lead.
Any hopes of a home comeback were quickly smothered by a try from Reds prop Taniela Tupou though the Waratahs responded quickly with a try of their own when Lalakai Foketi’s goose-stepping evaded the Reds’ defence and allowed
Will Harris to dive off.
Hooker Mafi, who had come on at halftime, scored two tries in five minutes, both from rolling mauls, as the difference in forward strength between the two lineups was cruelly exposed.
He completed his hat-trick as he charged over from 5m out with three minutes left to take his try tally for the season to six.
Will Harrison kicked three penalties for the home team while, for the Reds, captain James O’Connor put over a penalty and two conversions and Bryce Hegarty two conversions.
● Damian McKenzie’s last-gasp try earned the Waikato Chiefs a thrilling 15-12 victory over the Auckland Blues in a hard-fought battle at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium yesterday. —