Queensland’s second straight Super Rugby loss was compounded by a “worrying” calf injury to star prop Taniela Tupou in Brisbane on Friday night.
Tupou, who appeared to be nursing an issue throughout the first half, limped off the Suncorp Stadium turf and was consigned to a plastic chair in the second term as the Chiefs snatched a gritty 27-25 win to leapfrog the Reds into fourth on the ladder.
“It’s worrying signs,” Wallabies great Drew Mitchell said as a dejected Tupou sat with copious amounts of ice on his considerable calf.
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“It might be a cork, not sure,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
“We’re hoping that it’s not a major one.”
Discipline has been an issue throughout the 2022 season and while the Reds were able to overcome numerical disadvantages against Australian teams they won’t be able to do the same against the Kiwis at the pointy end of the competition.
Queensland lost Harry Wilson and Jock Campbell to yellow cards issued by Paul Williams and while inspirational captain Tate McDermott did his best to spark a late comeback the Chiefs closed out the game astutely.
“I’m pretty gutted to be honest,” McDermott said.
“It’s just our discipline really. We stuck to the game plan, pretty greasy conditions here so tried not to overplay our hand.
“I’m just gutted, we put in a lot of effort and again undone by our poor discipline.”
McDermott admitted Tupou “is obviously a big loss” but praised front-row teammates Feao Fotuaika, Harry Hoopert and Richie Asiata for their endeavours.
Wilson, Josh Flook and Hunter Paisami were the Reds try-scorers while Cortez Ratima, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Pita Gus Sowakula dotted down for the Chiefs – with one missed conversion proving decisive for Thorn’s side.
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Queensland, the reigning Australian champions, have now lost 22 of their last 24 games against New Zealand opposition.
The 7-3 Reds, who also lost last weekend against the Hurricanes, now host the Highlanders next Friday.
The Chiefs, also 7-3 but with an extra bonus point, will return home to Hamilton for a date with the Brumbies on May 7.
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