Queensland may be without full-back Chris Latham for the rest of the Super 14 season after the Reds star suffered a knee injury in his side’s 29-14 loss against the Cheetahs.
Latham limped off in the 22nd minute of Queensland’s third and final match on their South African tour with an initial diagnosis putting the full-back’s time on the sidelines between four and six weeks.
Adrian Warren writes for the AAP that a six-week stint would have Latham miss the rest of the season as Queensland, who remain 10th after their fifth loss in eight games, have just five games to play following their bye next weekend.
Reds half-back Sam Cordingley was also forced off early in the game, with a calf injury, but he may be fit to play in the side’s next game in two weeks time.
The Cheetahs effectively claimed their first win of the season inside the first 25 minutes, with lock Ross Duncan and impressive centre Meyer Bosman scoring converted tries in claiming a 17-0 buffer as the Reds saw Latham and Cordingley forced off.
The South Africans boosted their advantage to 24-0 in the second half, but the Reds got within 10 points in the final few minutes as they finally built sustained pressure and notched two converted tries to replacement back Brando Va’aulu.
Even before the injuries, the listless and mistake riddled Reds looked flat in the third and final match of their South African campaign.
Duncan crashed over between Reds backrowers John Roe and Leroy Houston following a scrum, after winger Clinton Schifcofske was forced to carry a Bosman kick across his own line.
Bosman’s try, which followed a good counter-attack, was awarded after the television match official had checked whether the powerful centre had grounded the ball properly.
Five-eight Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who kicked both conversions, added a 25-metre field goal to swell the Cheetahs’ advantage to 17 points after 21 minutes.
The Reds enjoyed a decent share of possession in the first half, but they created few try scoring chances even before Latham and Cordingley were forced out of the fray.
Barnstorming Cheetahs backrower Duanne Vermuelen compounded Queensland’s woes four minutes after the break, when he rounded off a sweeping move by fending off Reds lock Van Humphries to cross for the home side’s third try, which Potgieter converted to make the score 24-0.
Va’aulu got Queensland on the board in the 55th minute, when he juggled a pass from five-eight Quade Cooper before beating two defenders and wriggling over the line.
Cheetahs and South Africa prop C.J. van der Linde was sin-binned by referee Bryce Lawrence just after the hour mark, after having previously been warned for illegal use of the shoulder in the cleanout, and Queensland took advantage of his absence to reduce their deficit to 10 points as Va’aulu again beat two defenders to reward the Reds for some good ball retention and support play.
Queensland almost scored a third try inside the final three minutes, but lock James Horwill knocked on near the line.
Cheetahs centre J.W. Jonker then secured a try-scoring bonus point in the final seconds after the home side had regained possession after Reds back Peter Hynes had fumbled a kick.Tweet