Dupont, Smith, McDermott? Incredible praise for ‘world-class’ Reds half-back as Waratahs sink in wet

For the second night in a row, a controversial run of cards dominated the Super Rugby discussion as the Reds hosted the Waratahs – but that’s where the similarities ended.

In wet and slippery conditions that made rugby attritional, the Reds would learn from the Brumbies’ mistakes against the Force on Friday, conceding just six points to the Waratahs in a period when they were not just one man, but two .

Prop Dane Zandar’s red card late in the first half for a dangerous tackle on Ruan Smith was soon followed by star interim half-back Tate McDermott seeing yellow for a deliberate knockdown. Reduced to 13 men, the Waratahs must have sniffed out an opportunity.

But the Reds were not to be denied, holding firm before a trio of second-half tries on Taniela Tupou, Fraser McReight and Jock Campbell – the latter a heartbreaking interception effort that broke the Tahs back – put the game out of reach. , eventually claiming the spoils 32-20.

For player of the match and rising star Harry Wilson, the performance was iconic for the Reds – it takes a challenge to bring out the best in them.

“We pride ourselves on fighting, so being a man down, even two men out there, we knew we had to step up,” Wilson said. Stan Sports After the game.

“Sometimes we play our best football when we’re a man or two so that always helps us.”

Perfectly suited to the conditions, Wilson led the Reds’ star-studded forwards with aplomb, constantly making life difficult for the Tahs.

Having been overlooked for a spot on the Wallabies’ Spring Tour late last year, the 22-year-old’s improvement has been hailed by former greats Justin Harrison and Drew Mitchell.

“You just get the feeling that Harry is going to look you in the eye and listen to every word you have to say, and you’re going to see him transfer onto the pitch immediately,” Harrison said on Stan Sports.

“He changes his body, he’s very skilful, he’s an exciting number eight for Australian rugby.”

Mitchell had nothing but praise for Wilson’s physical improvement, after an uninterrupted pre-season of Wallabies homework.

“Sometimes when a young guy isn’t chosen and he’s told to go away and work on his craft or build himself up, have a good pre-season… sometimes, and I can speak from experience, they don’t necessarily go out and get the job done,” Mitchell laughed.

“He’s made the most of this opportunity in terms of an extended offseason, a young guy who needs to bulk up a bit, work on his game, work on his basic skills, and now he’s starting to get the rewards of this.”

But while Wilson’s performance was praised, it was nothing compared to what Mitchell had in store for Tate McDermott.

Despite his yellow card, the number nine was at his attacking best, scoring a try in the first half before setting up Tupou brilliantly in the second.

Reds’ Hamish Stewart is tackled. (Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old was so good that Mitchell put his name alongside true stars of world rugby.

“We expect so much from this guy, he’s a world-class halfback. You talk about Antoine Dupont, Aaron Smith, now you start talking about this man, Tate McDermott, in the same type of conversation,” he said.

“There’s a lot to like about tonight’s performance, especially after a break – he’s really sharp, he just adds a bit of spark to this team.

“Sometimes just when you’re in a locker room and you have someone like Tate McDermott sitting across from you, lacing up, coming out alongside you, it just gives you a bit of a boost. You can definitely see the influence he had on some of his teammates tonight.

McDermott himself echoed Wilson’s sentiments – that the Reds love to do it the hard way.

“We make it difficult for ourselves, but that’s what we’ve built over the last two years,” he said after the game.

“We always show up for the mate next to us. We are also a resilient group. We make it pretty hard…but how good.

“It was for Queensland.”

Sports Grp2

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