Sunday Territorian 18 May 2014
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
56 SPORT SUNDAY MAY 18 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Cooper comes a cropper as ruling enrages Reds WALLABIES f ive-e ighth Quade Cooper is set to miss next months Test series against France after suffering a serious shoulder injury in Queenslands 30-27 loss to the Melbourne Rebels last night. The Rebels controversially clinched their first Super Rugby win over the Reds in their four-season history with a late penalty reversal that saw Ed ODonoghue red-carded for eye-gouging in Brisbane. Television match official Steve Lescinski overruled referee Steve Walshs penalty when he detected ODono ghues hands on the eyes of Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham. Jason Woodward duly kicked the three-pointer to break the deadlock, much to the chagrin of Reds captain James Horwill who claimed ODonoghue was reacting to a headbutt in his scuffle with Higginbotham. In the end, once again we were robbed by a stupid refereeing decision, a fuming Horwill told Fox Sports. It was the Reds sixth straight loss, their worst streak since 2008, and fourth on the trot at their former fortress. But rubbing salt into deep wounds in the spiteful yet en tertaining affair was the injury to their star playmaker. Cooper is facing a month on the sidelines after being diagnosed with a grade three AC separation from a jolting hit on his left shoulder just after setting up an early try to Mike Harris. With Test coach Ewen McKenzie to name his 32-man on Thursday, the timing couldnt be worse for Cooper, who was likely to start in the first Test on June 7. The 50-Test fly half was on the field for just eight minutes before landing heavily on his shoulder joint in a heavy tackle by Rebels pair Laurie Weeks and Tom Kingston. Although Higginbotham admitted it was disappointing to see the result decided in the manner it was, the Rebels deserved victory. With half-back Luke Burgess a two-try hero before suffering a leg injury, they were more clinical in attack and looked in control in the second half. It was Coopers No. 10 replacement, Ben Lucas, who put the Reds back into the contest at 24-all with a 67th minute try. Both sides then traded pen alty goals before the Higginbotham-ODonoghue scuffle, which Walsh let go until Rebels flanker Sean McMahon was penalised for being the third man in. The Rebels produced the try of the match in the first half when a Cadeyrn Neville turnover on Lucas was the spark for a scintillating 60m counter-attack which finished with Woodward sending Kingston over out wide. Reds coach Richard Graham had cause to rue more poor defence on the half-hour mark when Burgess brushed off four tacklers to score. REDS 27 REBELS 30 REBELS Tries: L Burgess 2 T Kingston Conversions: J Woodward 3 Penalty Goals: J Woodward 3 REDS Tries: M Harris G Holmes B Lucas Conversions: M Harris 2 Q Cooper Penalty Goals: M Harris 2 Crowd: 23,820 at Suncorp Stadium Referee: S Walsh CRUSADERS 25 SHARKS 30 SHARKS Tries: K Cooper C Reinach S Sithole Conversions: F Steyn 2 T Swiel Penalty Goals: F Steyn 2 T Swiel CRUSADERS Tries: C Slade Conversions: C Slade Penalty Goals: C Slade 6 Venue: Christchurch Stadium Referee: R Hoffman Sharks end Crusaders home wins THE 14-man Sharks toppled the Crusaders 30-25 yesterday in a monumental performance to remain at the top of the Super Rugby standings. Playing with a man down for 64 minutes after flanker Jean Deysel was sent off for stomping, the Durban-based Sharks somehow concocted their first win in Christchurch and ended a remarkable record for the hosts in the process. The Crusaders had won their 50 previous home games against South African and Australian opponents but a blunt, error-prone display wasn't enough to quell the tenacious visitors. Scoring three tries to one, the Sharks ninth win from 12 games pushes them five points clear of the second-placed Chiefs while the Crusaders winning streak of five games is halted and may see them fall out of the top-six by the end of round 14. Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis admits the early departure of Deysel ultimately worked in their favour. A red card that early in the game just brings the team so much closer together ... it made my job so much easier, he said. Deysel was dismissed for a stomp to the face of opposite Jordan Taufua, who was holding on to his leg off the ball. It was the first win by any South African team in Christchurch since 2001. A Crusaders side still missing concussed captain Kieran Read and without All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg this week because of niggles lacked a cutting edge. Skipper Ryan Crotty says better will be needed when they play the Highlanders in Dunedin next week. Casuarina winger Maika Sala on the attack against South Darwin during Presidents Cup action at Warren Park yesterday Picture: KATRINA BRIDGEORD Cougars claw back Cup THE long wait is over for the Casuarina Cougars as they successfully defended the NTRUs Presidents Cup in a scrappy, at times ill-disciplined, 14-3 win over the South Darwin Rabbits last night. Two first-half red cards, one solitary try and a yellow card in the dying minutes were the talking points of the mid-season final between the top two teams in the competition. The match never really hit the high spots but its intensity gave rugby fans plenty to mull over. The first half was only 11 minutes old when Souths flanker and last seasons best player, Dave Boyle, was shown red by referee Dennis Stedman for retaliation. Confusion reigned for a few minutes as players and supporters were uncertain as to what colour card he had been shown. The match was reduced to 14-a-side 13 minutes later when centre Joe Tuisuva was also sent off for as similar offence. In a dour first half, which ended 0-0, Souths were the only team to have real scoring attempts but the two penalty shots from Robbie Davis were short of their target. The second half began on a much more positive note with winger Jake Rainger, who had taken over kicking duties from Davis, landing a 25m penalty to give Souths a 3-0 lead. The successful penalty spurred Casuarina into action and within five minutes they were level through a Nate Lamb penalty from 30m. Cougars piled on the pressure and after some keen forward play close to the line scrum-half Sam Batty was on hand to score the try. Lamb missed the conversion. The keenly contested match went up a notch with additional tough tackling play and hard running. But Souths big push to get back into the match failed to change the scoreboard as penalties and backchatting the ref eree added to their problems. Lamb seemed to put the game out of Souths reach in the 36th minute with a 60m penalty which gave the Cougars an 11-3 lead. A yellow card to Whitmer Tuputala in the final minute, and a stern lecture to Souths skipper Keegan Neal, rubbed salt into their wounds. Lamb added a third penalty from 30m just before the final whistle. NTRU Premiership Results: Casuarina 14 South Darwin 3, Palmerston 31 Swampdogs 19, University 43 Dragons 12. WHAT THE COACHES SAID Peter McGrath (Casuarina): It was a tough win, pretty ugly. Both sides were a bit conservative and did not want to lose which may have been reflected on the game. It could have gone either way. We are happy to have scored the only try of the game. The 60m penalty was great and came at a time when we needed it. Tim Atkinson (Souths): I can take a lot of positives out of that. The penalties (against us) are out of our control. It was a courageous effort but I was concerned about the yards we gave them.