Reds make meal of woeful, leaky Lions

ANY doubts that the Reds don't have the credentials to be semifinalists in this year's Super 14 were dispelled on Saturday night when they outplayed the Lions to win 41-26 at Ellis Park Stadium.

ANY doubts that the Reds don't have the credentials to be semifinalists in this year's Super 14 were dispelled on Saturday night when they outplayed the Lions to win 41-26 at Ellis Park Stadium.

Admittedly, they were up against a woeful Lions side that managed to leak tries at an alarming rate in the first quarter of the game. But the Reds overall structure looks sound.

Bagging four tries in the first 16 minutes, courtesy of Rod Davies, Quade Cooper, Saia Faingaa and Peter Hynes, and the small crowd that braved a cool evening knew they were in for a long night.

Directing proceedings for the visitors was the find of this year's Super 14 - Cooper.

Always a prodigious talent, it's only this year that his game has come together to become the finished product.

Whether it be pushing through a grubber kick with pinpoint accuracy, flicking neat little reverse passes or bamboozling the opposition with the goose-step, the 22-year-old could do no wrong.

Under coach Ewen McKenzie, the Reds have this year turned their fortunes around. Their forward pack dominated the Lions and with each match lock Van Humphries, No8 Leroy Houston and hooker Faingaa produce the goods.

For the Lions, their only glimmer of hope came on either side of half-time when they managed some semblance of defence and managed to pick up a couple of tries thanks to Michael Killian, Franco van der Merwe and Herkie Kruger. In other weekend results:

l The Bulls were back to their bruising best with a comprehensive 33-19 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.

l The Stormers and Blues pulled off a scintillating game at Eden Park in New Zealand with the visitors picking up their first win overseas 33-21.

l For the Cheetahs their tour of woes continued when they were outclassed 61-15 in Canberra by the Waratahs.

l In Christchurch the Crusaders managed a tight 20-13 victory over the visiting Waratahs. Western Force put away the Highlanders 41-27 in Queenstown.

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