The St.George Queensland Reds have suffered a 44-14 loss to the Lions at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg overnight.
The Reds trailed 15-0 at halftime but played most of the second half down a man following a red card to Quade Cooper for a high tackle in the 45th minute. The Lions took full advantage of the extra man, scoring four tries after the penalty to put the game out of the Reds’ reach.
Reds head coach Nick Stiles said: “It’s a frustrating result because we prepared well, but the performance just wasn’t there.
“We had some good opportunities in the first half but failed to build any pressure. Once we were shorthanded it was always going to be an incredibly difficult task. The Lions were runners-up last year for a reason, they’re a very good team and they showed that in the second half.
“If there’s one positive to take from the match, I was pleased with the effort of the young guys who came on in the second half, they didn’t roll over, they had a real crack and will learn from that experience.”
The Lions entered the halftime break up 15-0 following tries to Courtnall Skosan and Jaco Kriel, along with a conversion and penalty goal to flyhalf Elton Jantjes.
The Reds’ hopes of a comeback were quashed early in the second half after Eto Nabuli received a yellow card for a breakdown infringement before Cooper copped a red card for a high tackle on Lions player Rohan Janse van Rensburg as he crossed for a try.
The Lions scored a further four tries before the Reds finally crossed the chalk in the 69th.
The Reds’ first points came through inside centre Duncan Paia’aua after reserve flyhalf Jake McIntyre put Karmichael Hunt through a hole with an inside ball, who offloaded to the try scorer.
The Reds scored again 10 minutes later with a strong run from reserve prop Taniela Tupou close to the line.
The Reds now head to Buenos Aires to take on the Jaguares on Sunday 26 March at 7:40 am AEST.
St.George Queensland Reds 14 (Duncan Paia’aua, Taniela Tupou tries; Jake McIntyre 2 conversions) defeated by Lions 44 (Courtnall Skosan 4, Jaco Kriel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx tries; Elton Jantjes 2, Andries Coetzee 1 conversions; Jantjes 1 penalty goal) at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday 18 March 2017.