O'Connor makes history as Reds hammer hapless Force
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Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) –
Queensland Reds fly-half James O'Connor became the first Super Rugby player to score 100 points for three different clubs Friday in helping his team thrash a shellshocked Western Force 57-5 in an eight-try rampage.
The Wallabies star brought up the milestone with a first-half penalty to match the feat he achieved during stints with Force and the Melbourne Rebels.
O'Connor dazzled on the Gold Coast, scoring a try, setting up three others with deft passes and booting 17 points as the impressive Reds embarrassed the Perth club and soared to the top of the Super Rugby AU ladder.
They moved three points clear of the ACT Brumbies, although the Canberra team has two games in hand, with the resurgent NSW Waratahs next up for them on Saturday.
All three of those sides remain in contention for the finals series, along with the Melbourne Rebels. But the Force are out of the running with two games to play after their sixth defeat in a row.
"I thought we were a lot more clinical in taking our opportunities and just sticking to simple things," said Reds skipper Liam Wright, adding that they had been working on their off-load game.
"We've got a lot of X-factor in the team and the guys are running those support lines well."
Force skipper Ian Prior admitted it was "a tough day at the office".
"The Reds played really well and we didn't do ourselves any favours in certain areas, but you can't question the effort," he said. "We're playing well in patches but we need to string it together for 80 minutes."
Handling errors marred the early action but it didn't take long for the Reds to get on the board with a lovely inside ball from O'Connor setting flying winger Filipo Daugunu free to dot down and open the scoring.
The pair combined once more on the half-hour mark for try number two with O'Connor offloading to Daugunu in the corner after some slick handling in the build up.
The Force hardly saw any ball in the first-half and O'Connor brought up his century for the Reds with a penalty in front of the posts to take his team to the break with a 15-0 lead.
Against the odds, Andrew Ready flopped down for five points from a driving maul to get the Force back in the game soon after the restart before O'Connor was again involved in passing to a charging Fraser McReight for their third try.
Scrum-half Tate McDermott then showcased two pieces of magic.
He showed great awareness to step inside a maul and dart to the line for a try then went on a brilliant 40-metre solo run after taking a quick tap penalty.
O'Connor got in on the try-scoring act with their sixth before Bryce Hegarty and Tuaina Taii Tualima culminated a dominant win against a ragged Force defence.
© 2020 AFP