Queensland Reds upset Chiefs for thrilling Super win

Alex Mitchell |

Queensland Reds No.8 Harry Wilson celebrates a famous victory over the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland Reds No.8 Harry Wilson celebrates a famous victory over the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium.

Queensland Reds coach Les Kiss has lauded his team’s “titanic” upset win against the Chiefs after his side held on to beat the Super Rugby Pacific powerhouses 25-19 in a statement performance.

After snapping their 21-game, 10-year losing streak on New Zealand soil against the Chiefs late last season, the Reds doubled down with another famous victory on Saturday night.

The heroic Reds stood up when it mattered most at Suncorp Stadium, denying the Chiefs a late winner after the Kiwi side camped on their line in a three-minute, 23-phase drive.

Queensland Reds coach Les Kiss.
New coach Les Kiss has overseen a positive start for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby Pacific. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“We’re not surprised, put it that way, but that’s titanic in a way to hold out the Chiefs,” Kiss told Stan Sport. 

“You can see the relief and the joy from the guys … it was probably fitting it goes down to the last minute.”

Kiss now boasts a 2-1 record after taking the coaching reins in the off-season, as his Reds rebounded in style from last weekend’s heartbreaking late defeat against the Hurricanes.

The Queensland coach said the way his side processed that golden-point loss had set up their bounce-back win.

“The boys were gutted, but they didn’t lose themselves down a cul de sac of gloom,” he said.

“They just said, ‘What can we focus on next?’.

“We took the week day-by-day, we kept focused on us. If you over-focus on the Chiefs you can hurt yourself.”

Tom Lynaghis tackled by the Chiefs' Samipeni Finau.
Tom Lynagh feels the force of a full-throttled challenge from the Chiefs’ Samipeni Finau. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

They came up with the match-winning points despite the absence of star playmaker Tom Lynagh, who copped a brutal late shot to the ribs that forced him to leave the field in the 53rd minute.

Five-eighth Lynagh was steamrolled by Chiefs flanker Samipeni Finau just seconds after he’d been in the hands of the doctor with a shoulder complaint.

Finau somehow avoided a yellow card for the challenge, despite it coming well after Lynagh had released the ball, referee Ben O’Keeffe judging the Chiefs player attempted to wrap the Reds man in the tackle.

Teenage substitute Harry McLaughlin-Phillips stepped up shortly afterwards and put in a grubberkick that took a sharp bounce and sat up for centre Josh Flook to restore the Reds’ lead.

They had gone in 15-11 up at halftime, but having dominated territory and regularly threatened the Chiefs’ line the gap could – and perhaps should – have been wider.

Matt Faessler (centre) scores for the Reds.
Reds hooker Matt Faessler crossed for his fourth try in three games off the back of a rolling maul. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Hooker Matt Faessler crossed for his fourth try in three games off the back of a rolling maul in the 17th minute, while Fraser McReight gave the Reds the lead six minutes later.

The clinical Chiefs cashed in on limited first-half chances, scoring from their only trip inside their opponents’ 22-metre zone in the first 25 minutes, through fullback Josh Ioane.

The Reds’ defensive intensity could not be questioned, surviving two deep 12-phase Chiefs possessions late in the first half and only conceding a solitary penalty goal.

Kiss praised Lynagh’s ability to play through pain, having been a constant target for the Chiefs as they sought to shut down the opposition’s most dangerous player.

“Sometimes toughness comes out in different ways, and we’re seeing him take the hits,” he said. 

“We see him in the tackles, but he’s tough (mentally).

“He’s not the complete rugby player yet, we know that, but he’s got a big upside on him and if he’s got those traits already he’s going to go a long way.”