Australian Tens hopes tumble out in quarters
RUGBY UNION: Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles was happy with his team's performance at the inaugural Brisbane Tens despite being knocked out at the quarter-final stage at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds led 10-5 at half-time against the Chiefs but two yellow cards in as many minutes in the second half proved costly as the New Zealand outfit scored a try under the posts and converted to win 12-10.
"I think we demonstrated how much we've grown in the last four months,” Stiles said. "The players have pushed themselves incredibly hard throughout the pre-season and we saw some of the benefit of that over the weekend.
"It was an outstanding effort from the boys to be down to eight players at one point in that quarter and defend as well as they did. I said to the team after the game they showed a lot of heart and character.
"I hope they take a lot from today's performances. We are looking forward to taking that spirit into our first match of Super Rugby here at Suncorp Stadium in two weeks' time.”
Fellow Australian side the Western Force also made the last eight but went down in its quarter-final despite leading South African side the Bulls at the break.
The Force led 12-0 at half-time, but three tries in five minutes meant the Bulls finished as 19-12 winners.
The NSW Waratahs, ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels failed to make the finals.
The Reds' next outing is a pre-season match against the Rebels at Ballymore, with their Super Rugby season to start on Friday, February 24, when they host the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Waratahs defended the decision to not play Israel Folau in two of their three games.
Folau played only in the opening 15-5 defeat by Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights on day one and did not feature in his side's 26-14 loss to the Chiefs on Saturday or yesterday's 14-12 win over the Rebels.
"Izzy had a run yesterday and had a massive Spring Tour,” assistant coach Nathan Grey said.
"Those guys are coming back into training so it's just smart from everyone's perspective, making sure those guys get some quality time in terms of their preparation, so we can build up a lot of the Wallaby guys so they're right for Super Rugby.”
Folau said he wanted to play more but understood why he wasn't allowed, particularly in light of the scorching 39 degree heat.
"They're just looking out for what's best for me and I guess the mindset is looking ahead to that Super Rugby season which is what is really important to us,” he said.