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The St.George Queensland Reds have left Suncorp Stadium empty-handed after the first night of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
There were many promising moments and determined efforts from the young squad which paid for a handful of lapses with and without the ball.
The Blues announced themselves as a team to watch at the second instalment of the Tens with a 29-7 Pool A win against the Reds.
In their second outing, the Reds led late in the game before falling 21-17 to the Rebels.
“We thought our boys put their heart into it … probably just a few silly mistakes and that wasn’t good enough,” said Reds assistant coach Paul Carozza.
“Every team says they want to defend well and that was a positive from the couple of games we played.
“They were physical with it and worked hard for each other which was a positive.”
There were some bright moments for the Reds on their home turf.
After adjusting to the blended format which borrows elements from both Sevens and 15-a-side rugby, the Reds found some resolve and organisation in defence.
One such effort forced a turnover from the Rebels which yielded a try to Jake Strachan.
Winger Izaia Perese scored a slick try in the second match, while Queensland’s young forwards toiled hard in both outings.
Carozza said the coaching staff were keen to see Strachan, Hamish Stewart and Teti Tela given time in the playmaking role.
Stewart has been tipped to open the Super Rugby season at flyhalf against the Rebels on February 23 but Strachan and Tela both put up their hands after tasting NRC action in recent seasons.
“We’re trying to give the whole squad (a run). It’s definitely a group effort,” Carozza said.
“It was a good opportunity for us to see Teti Tela.
“He’s an experienced Premier Rugby player who did really well in the NRC.
“And in training with the Reds he impressed Thorny and the rest of the staff.”
Perese combined well at times with captain Samu Kerevi and prop Taniela Tupou.
His tackle-shredding runs and reliable one-on-one tackling were suited to the Tens format.
“On TV you see there’s a lot of space but it closes up pretty quick,” Perese said.
“It was a really good atmosphere out there.”
The St.George Reds face the Wild Knights in their Pool A match on Saturday.
16 FEBRUARY 2018