Huxley's boot settles 'old school' battle

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The Independent Online

A recent advertisement for the southern nations' shiny new Super 14 season read thus: "We could let the Poms play, but it ain't called the Average 14." Very funny. Few fans were laughing at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium yesterday, however, where the Queensland Reds lost by all of 6-3 to the ACT Brumbies.

Julian Huxley kicked one penalty for the Brumbies and Stirling Mortlock another to one by the Reds full-back Clinton Schifcofske in the lowest-scoring match in the competition's history. So much for the pyrotechnic attacking skills and basketball-esque point-parades those Poms are unable to match.

"At the end of the day, we weren't good enough," said the habitually succinct Reds coach Eddie Jones, once the man in charge of the Wallabies.

"I don't know if there was that much that was good about the game tonight," said Mortlock. "It was very humid and the ball was like a cake of soap so both sides made a lot of errors."

The Reds captain, John Roe, concluded: "It was a bit old school." And then some, John.

Both teams travel to New Zealand next week with the Brumbies playing the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday and the Reds facing the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.

Those two Kiwi sides produced a rather more entertaining match at the Westpac Stadium yesterday, the Hurricanes taking a home win 23-22. Tries from the full-back Cory Jane and openside flanker Serge Lilo and 13 points from the scrum-half Jimmy Gopperth's boot helped the Hurricanes put the wind up the Blues, for whom Doug Howlett, Anthony Tuitavake and Greg Rawlinson scored tries and Isa Nacewa kicked two conversions and a penalty.

"I'm very proud," said the Hurricanes captain, Tana Umaga. "It was a hard game by two teams who are very similar and can score tries from nothing."

The Reds and the Brumbies might take a look at the video.