Wikipedia - Queensland Reds

The Queensland Reds is the rugby union team for the Australian state of Queensland that competes in the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby competition. Prior to 1996, they were a representative team selected from the rugby union club competitions in Queensland. With the introduction of the professional Super 12 competition they moved to a model where players are contracted to the Reds through the Queensland Rugby Union rather than selected on the basis of club form.

From 1996 to 2005 they were one of three Australian teams competing in the Super 12 competition, alongside the New South Wales Waratahs and the ACT Brumbies. Queensland finished as minor premiers in 1996 and 1999. From 2006 to 2010, they competed in the expanded Super 14 competition as one of four Australian sides. Beginning in 2011, they are one of five Australian sides in the expanded and renamed Super Rugby, winning the competition in its first season in its new format (2011). In 2012 they finished first in the Australian conference and won the Super Rugby AU title in 2021, when regionalised competitions were played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

History

Early Queensland years

Refer also to Rugby union in Queensland

The first recorded games of rugby in Queensland were played in 1876, when the existing Brisbane Football Club (formed in 1866), switched to rugby to align with the newly formed 'Rangers' and 'Bonnet Rouge' football clubs. However, it was reported that the game was soon varied to suit the preferences of the local players, and “rugby, with Brisbane variations, was the game played” (The Brisbane Courier, 10 July 1876). Most of these games were played at the Queen's Park (now part of the City Botanic Gardens (see image at right). However, the Brisbane Courier reported in 1879 that the Brisbane FC had reverted to what had become known as the 'Victorian rules', “in place of the Rugby Union Rules played by the club during the last three seasons”.

In 1880, the club became a foundation member of the Queensland Football Association (QFA), along with Wallaroo, Excelsiors and Athenians (Ipswich), where it was decided to recognise and play mostly 'Victorian rules', with occasional games of 'Rugby' rules. However, in 1882, a Brisbane FC representative (Daniel Foley Pring Roberts) arranged a rugby match against the Sydney Wallaroos Rugby club, after the NSWRU (Rugby Union) offered to pay all costs associated with the match. Brisbane advocates of the Victorian rules game reacted angrily and declared that no QFA player would be permitted to play under rugby rules, which led to the formation of the Northern Rugby Union (now the Queensland Rugby Union) in late 1883.

The following years saw rapidly increasing popularity of the rugby game. As rugby historian Sean Fagan noted:

The defining moment in the code battle came with the 1886 Queensland [Rugby] side, who defeated NSW for the first time in Sydney. “The success of this team undoubtedly won the day for rugby game in Queensland. The Victorian game supporters were struggling hard to uphold the premier position they had gained but after the brilliant performance of the 1886 team, who lost only one match through their tour, the rugby game became very popular and the next season several new clubs were formed and the Victorian game began to wane” (QRU Annual, 1902).

In 1883, the first inter-colonial match in Brisbane took place, with Queensland defeating New South Wales 12 to 11 at the Eagle Farm Racecourse. In 1896 the first Queensland team departed for a tour of New Zealand, where they played New Zealand at Athletic Park in Wellington on 15 August, losing 9 to nil. In 1899 Queensland recorded their first win against an international team, defeating The Lions 11 to 3 at the Exhibition Ground (see team photo at right).

The Queensland team remained a representative team selected solely from the rugby union clubs within the state, until the advent of the Super rugby competition in the 1990s.

Pre-Super competitions

With the start up of rugby league as well as World War I, Queensland rugby was dormant for a number of years, and the QRU was disbanded in 1919 and was not revived until the late 1920s. In 1928 the QRU was re-formed, and the GPS competition and major clubs soon returned. The game struggled during World War II, but growth was nonetheless apparent, with the advent of the Queensland Junior Rugby Union and the Country Rugby Union. In 1950 the QRU secured the Normanby Oval at nominal rent from Brisbane Grammar School, before they moved into Ballymore Stadium in 1966, which would serve as the spiritual home of Queensland. In 1980 Queensland defeated the All Blacks, which was their first win against New Zealand. The match was played at Ballymore on 6 July and Queensland won 9 to 3. Two seasons later centenary celebrations took place, with Queensland defeating New South Wales 41 to 7 in the celebratory match.

Early Super Rugby

The first Super 10 was held in 1993. Queensland were grouped in Pool A alongside Auckland, Natal, Western Samoa and Otago. Queensland finished with five points, in fourth place. The subsequent Super 10 competition of 1994 saw Queensland finish at the top of Pool A on 13 points, edging out North Harbour on for and against differential to finish at the top. The Queensland Reds went on to play the winner of Pool B, South African side, Natal. The Reds won the final, 21 points to 10 at Kings Park Stadium in Durban. The following season was even more successful for the Reds, who were playing in Pool B for the 1995 season. They finished the season with 16 points, four points clear of second placed team in their pool, the Free State. South African team Transvaal had finished at the top of Pool A and the final was to be decided at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Queensland won the final 30–16, and thus became back-to-back champions.

Super 12

With rugby union going professional, there was a reworking of competitions. The SANZAR partnership was formed between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU), the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU) and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the Super 12 was born. In the 1996 season Queensland finished at the top of the table.

Queensland hosted their Super 12 semi-final on 18 May 1996. The game was played at Queensland's home of rugby union, Ballymore, and was played against the Sharks. The Sharks defeated Queensland 43–25. The 1997 season saw the Reds finish in ninth place. In 1998 the Reds had a much better season, finishing in fifth position at the end of the season.

In 1999 Queensland lost only three games during the regular season, and finished at the top of the ladder on 36 points (beating the Stormers to first position due to for and against points). The Reds hosted the Canterbury Crusaders at Ballymore for a semi-final. Canterbury won 28–22. In 2000 the Reds finished in seventh place on the ladder. In 2001 the Reds finished in fourth place on the ladder and played in the semis. They played fellow Australian team, the Brumbies in Canberra, and the Brumbies won 30 points to six. The following season, 2002, the Reds finished in fifth place. For the 2003 season, Queensland finished in eighth place. Queensland finished tenth in the 2004 and 2005 Super 12 seasons.

Super 14

In 2006, the Super 12 became the Super 14 with the addition of the Western Force (AUS) and the Cheetahs (RSA). Queensland played the Waratahs in the opening game of the season, which was a close loss. The Reds also played new team the Western Force, which Queensland won. Queensland finished 12th on the ladder. Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones took over from Jeff Miller as coach for the 2007 season.

New coach Eddie Jones got off to a winning start at Queensland Rugby, with a Queensland XV, 63–22 victory over the NEC club. The Reds took part in the one-off Australian Provincial Championship not getting the start they wanted, losing to the Force 32–6 at home in round one but turned it around the next week beating the Waratahs 39–17 in Gosford. The following week the Reds beat the competition leaders the Brumbies 20–19 after a penalty goal by Lloyd Johansson to qualify for the final in the ACT against the same team they beat. However, Queensland lost 42–17. Later in the year Queensland beat the Cherry Blossoms 29–22 in Japan.

The 2007 Super 14 season saw the Queensland Reds finishing a poor season by winning the wooden spoon, they couldn't have started the competition any better when they beat 2006 Grand Finalists the Wellington Hurricanes in Round 1, after that win they would not taste victory again until Round 12. The season was summed up in the final round of the regular season where Queensland were defeated 92–3 by the Bulls. This defeat was by the largest margin in Super Rugby history, although the NSW Waratahs had 96 points scored against them in their loss to the Crusaders in 2002.

The 2008 Super 14 season witnessed a mini-resurgence of the Qld Reds, with the youthful side playing exciting and enterprising rugby under new coach Phil Mooney, they gained revenge against the Bulls after the 2007 thrashing by beating them 40–8, in what was the highlight of the season for the Reds. The Reds continued to play exciting rugby for the rest of the season but lost close matches against the Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs and Waratahs, while the side finished 12th they showed plenty of promise and regained some respect.

The 2010 Super 14 showed the real potential of a team that had been on the ropes for the last 6 years. After losing their star back Berrick Barnes to the Waratahs they unearthed the talent they had not noticed like that of Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane and Will Genia. They became the feel–good team of the year becoming the only team to beat both the year's finalists under the new coach, former Waratahs mentor Ewen McKenzie. The highlight of their year was their 19–12 victory over the Bulls in which they played out a fast game to beat a truly world class side. A late injury plague affected the last two games of the season and ultimately a finals spot. Although the Reds missed the finals, they showed good prospects for the 2011 Super Rugby season.

Super Rugby

In the debut season of the renamed and revamped Super Rugby competition, the Queensland Reds showed their improvement from the previous few years. The Reds finished the regular season at the top of the table, with 13 wins and 3 losses. In the final, Queensland Reds achieved their first Super Rugby Championship in the professional era, beating the Crusaders (18–13) in front of a record crowd (52,113) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Following the win the Reds were handed the keys to the city after a ticker-tape parade through Brisbane.

Following the title win, though, the Reds fell down the Super Rugby ladder, finishing 13th in 2014 and 2015, and 15th in 2016 and 14th in 2017, post Super Rugby Expansion.

In 2018, former All Black Brad Thorn was appointed head coach, where he promised to turn the franchise around. Despite finishing 13th and sacking several high-profile players, the Reds had their most successful season in five years.

They repeated their 6-10 record in 2019, before making the coronavirus-enforced Super Rugby AU final in 2020, losing to the Brumbies.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, domestic competitions continued in 2021. The Reds impressed in this, winning 7 of their 8 games, winning the final against the Brumbies, before finishing 7th in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.