Basics let Drua down in close loss

Basic mistakes at crucial moments.

That was the Fijian Drua's biggest problem as they went down fighting, 27-24, in a close battle with the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday.

While offloads did wonders for the Fijian side, it also turned out to punish the team when they went overboard with it at crucial moments, resulting in knock-ons and losing possession, especially in the team's red zones.

Another area the Drua were culpable was not being quick enough to support the ball carriers, ensuring that their opponents tacklers and ball hunters were bulldozed out of the way.

Lacking focus also stood out like a sore thumb.

Second half turnovers from holding on to the ball in tackles resulted in movements heading for the tryline doused and killed off before the Drua machine could get into gear.

One such move also resulted in Reds' Fijian winger Filipo Daugunu stealing the ball in a tackle in the last minute of the game as Meli Derenalagi and his warriors started what looked like a last assault for the tryline.

Captain Derenalagi said after the match it was a tough clash but they should have won.

Lapses in concentration in the first spell let the team down too, which allowed the hosts to score two critical tries.

"We just lacked on focus in our first half. That's what caused us in the first half," Derenalagi said.

"We were not focused on it and coming in the second half we were told to give our all and come out strong."

Head coach Mick Byrne said he was disappointed the players did not play 80 minutes rugby.

"In the second half we scored that first try. We we got down to work and we got back into the game," the Australian said.

"Would have been nice to have been like that for 80 minutes because the boys are 80 minutes players."

How the scoring went

The Reds led 12-3 at the half-time break.

Drua opened the scoring with a Frank Lomani penalty goal, seven minutes after kick off.

Queensland hit back with Josh Flook's first try when he collected the ball after a loose Harry Wilson pass to bust through from close range.

Returning flyhalf James O'Connor hit the woodwork with his conversion attempt as the Reds led 5-3.

Drua flanker Kitione Salawa was yellow carded in the 20th minute and Flook claimed his double in the 29th minute.

O'Connor converted from in front of the posts to extend his team's lead to 10-3.

As the second half started, the home side got to work early with Wilson and then Reds other Fijian winger Atunaisa Vunivalu going over the tryline.

With half an hour to go, Reds led 24-3.

Lock Ratu Rotuisolia dived over close the the uprights and halfback Lomani converted to bring the score to 24-10.

Replacement inside centre Kalaveti Ravouvou grabbed a score, as the Drua team turned on the magic front of 13,529 fans.

Reds replacement flyhalf Tom Lynagh slotted in a penalty for his team to take a 10-point lead in the 69th minute.

But as time ticked away star outside centre Iosefo Masi tip toed his way down the sideline to score in the corner after he received a pass from skipper Derenalagi following a quick tap from Lomani deep inside the Reds 22.

Lomani did not disappoint with his conversion from near the sideline.

With the scoreline at 27-24 with two minutes to go Drua started a counter attack from inside their own half.

But they made the mistake of not supporting the ball carrier and as Daugunu wrapped his hands around the ball and the Reds fans knew that was game over.

Queensland Reds 27 - Tries: Josh Flook 2, Harry Wilson, Suliasi Vunivalu, Conversions: James O'Connor 2, Penalties: Tom Lynagh defeated the Fijian Drua 24 - Tries: Ratu Rotuisolia, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Iosefo Masi, Conversions: Frank Lomani 3, Penalties: Lomani