There’s no place like home for the Queensland Reds, who highlighted their love of Suncorp Stadium with a pressure-relieving 22-17 Super Rugby victory over the Stormers.
The Reds buried painful memories of their unsuccessful South African tour by dismantling the beleaguered Stormers’ lineout for the grinding win on Saturday night.
It’s the fifth straight year Queensland have won immediately on their return home from their tour of the Republic, and 29th win from their last 34 games at Suncorp.
A Brisbane crowd of 28,060 were happy to overlook the second-half handling errors and another nervy finish for the vital four points – which takes the Reds (14) to within three points of the Australian conference-leading Brumbies.
Quade Cooper looked to have sealed the match with a drop goal, quickly followed by his fifth successful penalty, for a 22-10 lead with 10 minutes left.
But the Stormers, who have lost their past four matches and failed to eclipse 20 points this season, stormed back with back-rower Sikhumbuzo Notshe scoring from a driving maul.
In the end, they could only reap a bonus point to end a forgettable Australasian tour which was compounded by a dislocated elbow to livewire fullback Gio Aplon.
Flanker Beau Robinson was tireless and Will Genia probed all night from the ruckbase in a fine halfback’s display but the Reds’ attack otherwise looked predictable and was too often easily shutdown.
Queensland cleaned up their discipline to win the penalty count 9-8.
They enjoyed 75 per cent of the possession in the first half but failed to capitalise on their superiority as the injury-hit visitors kept them to 13-10 at halftime.
A slick counter-attack off a Rob Simmons turnover paved the way for bustling Stormers winger Damian de Allende to post the first try of the match in the 19th minute.
Wallabies lock Simmons, who gave the visitors’ flaky lineout grief throughout, hit back for the Reds with a strong pick-and-drive after a well-worked scrum move saw Dom Shipperley pulled down a metre short.
Queensland lost hooker Saia Fainga’a before kick-off with a shoulder problem, meaning his 100-match milestone would have to wait at least another week.