23 Jul 2012

Sharks beat Super Rugby defending champion Reds

7:11 am on 23 July 2012

The defending champion Queensland Reds were knocked out of the Super Rugby competition after losing to the South African Sharks side 30-17 in their elimination qualifier in Brisbane.

When the Reds lost five-eighth Ben Lucas, who had stepped up in the absence of the controversially suspended Quade Cooper, to injury early on, the game was turned on its head.

In an unexpected move, the Reds coach Ewen McKenzie shifted 19-year-old utility Nick Frisby, not replacement Mike Harris, in at halfback and switched captain Will Genia into five-eighth as Lucas looked on in crutches.

The Reds had won six of their last seven games in Brisbane against the Sharks and have a remarkable home record of 21 wins in their last 23 games at Suncorp Stadium.

But the Sharks have made a habit of crashing the Reds' party and the Reds were all but gone after the Sharks' stunning 17-0 lead after 23 minutes.

The Sharks next face the Cape Town-based Stormers in the semi-final, while the Crusaders will meet the Chiefs in Hamilton in the other semi next weekend.