The Crusaders have thumped Queensland 57-29 in the highest-scoring Super Rugby match at Suncorp Stadium.
Crest-fallen skipper James Horwill rued inexcusable “soft moments” as Queensland crashed to their equal worst streak since their 2007 Super Rugby wooden-spoon.
Just like their awful second-half display on Sunday, the Reds’ season fell apart with a humiliating 57-29 loss to the title-hunting Crusaders.
The Cantabrians ran in six tries at Suncorp Stadium – five after trailing 17-16 at halftime – to dish out the 2011 champions’ fifth straight loss in a season of woe.
Instead of continuing to pressure the in-form visitors, Queensland felt compelled to chase the game too hard, too early after letting in two easy tries straight after the break.
Prop Wyatt Crockett caught out lazy defenders to barge over from a quick tap before Israel Dagg punished a poor Mike Harris kick and non-existent chase by sending Johnny McNichol over for a 50m try.
“Wyatt Crockett’s try was a soft moment,” Horwill said. “Not chasing a kick was a soft moment.
“Fourteen points on the scoreboard and in this competition you take your eye off the ball for two minutes – that’s what happens.
“We have to be better. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.
“It’s not good enough and we’re a better team than what we showed.”
For the third week in a row Queensland were badly exposed, overpowered and outskilled by a Kiwi opponent, leaking 16 tries in that time.
Although they scored four of their own for a consolation bonus point, their attack lacked confidence to the point of being shambolic at times as the Crusaders clinically punished a litany of errors.
“We just let the game get fractured and potentially went after the game a bit early,” coach Richard Graham said.
Queensland were effectively killed off midway through the second half when no players contested a high ball on halfway and No.8 Luke Whitelock sprinted away for a 40-17 lead.
It was a deflating end for a 34,010-strong Mothers’ Day crowd after Queensland turned up to play in an exciting first half, jumping to a 17-10 lead with two sweet backline tries while Andy Ellis was in the sin bin.
Rubbing more salt into their wounds, Brisbane-raised winger Nemani Nadolo finished with two tries in the highest-scoring Super Rugby match played at Suncorp Stadium.
Flyhalf Colin Slade kicked 11 from 11 for the seven-time champions to notch their first half-century on Australian soil.
The only downside for the Crusaders was a broken ankle to All Blacks lock Luke Romano.
Harris is in doubt for Saturday night’s clash with the Melbourne Rebels with a badly broken nose.