Tough task is in store for Reds after defeat

QUEENSLAND faces a huge character test against Super Rugby champions the Waratahs on Saturday night with Reds coach Richard Graham already overloaded with selection and discipline problems.

With his star signing Karmichael Hunt's role in the side still clouded by the sport's latest drugs drama, rumblings have emerged that fellow recruit James O'Connor was not happy about being thrust into the vital No.10 role after returning to Australia to push his World Cup claims as a specialist winger.

Queensland was very ordinary at times against the Highlanders in Dunedin, and paid the price for its ill-discipline with a 20-13 loss in a game that saw O'Connor make his debut at flyhalf, a position where he is clearly not comfortable.

Reds skipper James Slipper was openly critical of his side's high error rate and poor discipline which made life too easy for The Highlanders who were able to cash in on a number of penalties which broke Queensland's rhythm

While the Reds wobbled like a bicycle with a flat tyre, Kiwi sides the Hurricanes and Chiefs, as well as South Africa's Stormers and Cheetahs, all remained unbeaten after three rounds.

The Chiefs were ruthless in crushing the Crusaders 40-16 in Hamilton in a result that sent shivers through the competition.

Former rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams not only scored a try but set up two others in a man-of-the-match performance.

The Stormers made it three straight, but only just with a 22-19 win thanks to a late try against the Lions at Ellis Park, while the Blues were unhappy about a late penalty they believe cost them a win against the Cheetahs.


HIGHLANDERS 20 (W Naholo try; M Banks 4 pen, H Parker pen) REDS 13 (J Schatz try; J O'Connor con, 2 pens) in Dunedin on Friday night

HURRICANES 42 (C Jane, M Abbott, V Vito, J Savea, J Marshall tries; B Barrett 2 con, 3 pen; J Marshall 2 con) WESTERN FORCE 13 (M Scott try; L Burton con, 2 pen) in Perth on Friday night)

CHEETAHS 25 (C Hendricks 2, S Pretorius tries; J Pietersen 2 con, 2 pen) BLUES 24 (L Braid, C Faumuina, J Kaino tries; I West 3 con, pen) in Bloemfontein on Saturday morning.

CHIEFS 40 (SB Williams, A. Pulu, C Ngatai, T Marshall, J Lowe tries; A Cruden 3 con, 3 pen) CRUSADERS 16 (A Ellis try; C Slade con, 3 pen) in Hamilton on Saturday night

BRUMBIES 20 ( T Kuridrani, J Butler tries; C Leali'ifano 2 con, 2 pen) REBELS 15 (M Harris 5 pen) in Melbourne on Saturday night

BULLS 43 (F Hougaard, D Stegmann, P Spies, J Serfontein tries; H Pollard 3 con, 4 pen; T Schoeman con, pen) SHARKS 35 (R Kankowski, C Reinach tries; P Lambie 2 con, 7 pen) in Pretoria on Sunday morning

STORMERS 22 (S Kolisi try; D Katrikilis 5 pen; K Coleman con) LIONS 19 (W Tecklenburg try; E Jantjies con, 4 pen) in Johannesburg on Sunday morning

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