'Reality check': Pressure growing for Thorn after Reds demoralised by another NZ side

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Queensland Reds huddle after loss Townsville February 2023
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The Queensland Reds opened up with a 13-6 lead over the Hurricanes before a second half blitz by the visitors consigned the home side to a deflating 47-13 loss in Townsville.

The Reds were well and truly in the game at halftime down by three at 16-13 but even the sticky heat and humidity couldn’t prevent a collapse.

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones was in attendance but fans have already started drawing conclusions that the Queenslanders will not have many selections in Jones’ squad.

The pressure on head coach Brad Thorn also was a focus, who after five years into his tenure has not yet found an answer for the Kiwi sides.

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The 2021 Super Rugby AU champions went from Australian champs to 7th in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman that year with one win from five.

In 2022 the Reds came close to defeating the Chiefs but then went on winless run losing all five clashes with New Zealand teams, including a quarter-final exit at the hands of the Crusaders.

Their first effort in 2023 followed a similar line of results.

Australian rugby journalist Sam Phillips called the Reds opening performance ‘deadset deplorable’ while others blamed a failure to develop a set-piece as the Reds major shortcoming.

Missing Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou, who is sidelined with injury and has signed with the Melbourne Rebels for next season, the Reds got a taste of life without Tupou against the Hurricanes front row featuring two All Black veterans in Owen Franks and Dane Coles.

Reds captain Tate McDermott called the loss a ‘reality check’ and a continuation of the issues that have plagued the side in the past.

“I guess for us, probably a bit of a reality check,” Reds captain Tate McDermott told Stan Sport.

“At least we know where we are now and we’ve got to get back on the horse. So very disappointing. A bit of a broken record for us, really, discipline and not holding the ball and also not making tackles.”

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