The Queensland Reds have been torn to shreds by the Super Rugby title-hunting Chiefs, copping a demoralising 50-5 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.
The Chiefs, the competition’s leading New Zealand team, scored eight tries to one and pocketed a bonus point on Friday night as they enjoyed their biggest win over any team in Super Rugby – the ideal tune-up two weeks out from the finals.
For the Reds it was an ugly reminder of how far off the pace they really are, as the Chiefs ruthlessly exposed their deficiencies and visiting players lined up to cash in on their mistakes.
A crowd of 18,129 supporters were on hand, and most of them will be counting down the seconds until the arrival of 2017 recruits Stephen Moore, George Smith and potentially Quade Cooper, who will hopefully help turn things around.
It took just 95 seconds for the Chiefs to begin the bloodbath, with Seta Tamanivalu blowing through some weak tackles from Samu Kerevi, Curtis Browning and Nick Frisby for the first of his two tries.
Their next was a try-of-the-season contender, finished off by Atu Moli but only after a mesmerising chain of offloads that rendered the Queensland defence helpless – moments after Frisby had botched a kick for touch, turning over possession.
The Reds thought they’d stemmed the damage on 21 minutes when Chris Kuridrani scored to make it 14-5, but yellow cards to Frisby and rookie fullback Jack Tuttle within two minutes of each other reduced them to 13 men, and the Chiefs pounced.
Frisby kicked the ball out of the hands of Chiefs flanker Lachlan Boshier as he bore down under the posts in the 29th minute, which was deemed foul play and triggered a penalty try, while Tuttle’s inexperience showed when he attempted a kick and chase, but clumsily took out Tawera Kerr-Barlow as he was collecting the ball and was sent to the bin.
Taking full advantage, the Chiefs ran in tries through Sam Cane and Tamanivalu to make it 33-5 at the break before Nathan Harris and a second-half double from Damian McKenzie piled on more hurt in the second half.
McKenzie finished with 20 points to his name, converting four tries.
To make matters worse for the Reds, they also lost their captain, James Slipper, who went off with what appeared to be a chest injury in the first half, while Greg Holmes (neck) and Anthony Fainga’a (back) were late withdrawals.