Under-fire Queensland Reds bounded out of the Super 14 rugby doldrums with a 40-8 demolition of fading champions the Northern Bulls of South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Reds, losers of their past three games, cashed in with five tries for their first bonus-point victory in the southern-hemisphere competition in four years.
Queensland have been living with the stigma of Australian rugby’s worst-performing province, and coach Phil Mooney was forced to make six changes to the side that capitulated 34-16 to the Western Stormers at home last week.
Number eight John Roe, who lost the team captaincy to Sam Cordingley, barged over for his fifth try of the season after a storming run from Wallabies’ fullback Chris Latham in the final minutes to crown a mixed week.
Latham and centre Morgan Turinui, both off form in the past three weeks, sparked the Reds in the first half and were crucial when the Pretoria-based reigning champions promised a fightback midway through the second half.
”I’m so proud of the boys,” new skipper Cordingley said. ”They’ve copped a lot in the last few weeks. I just asked them to trust each other. That’s probably one of our best performances in a long time.”
Winger Clinton Schifcofske finished with a career-best haul of 20 points, including a 52nd-minute try when Springbok winger Bryan Habana fumbled a kick.
The Bulls scored only one try — by Fourie du Preez — with flyhalf Derick Hougaard landing a penalty goal.
It was a dreadful start to their Australasian tour for the Bulls, who slumped to a losing 2-3 record this season and are off to face the Waikato Chiefs in Rotorua next Saturday. — Sapa-AFP