BRISBANE - Queensland's backline injury curse plumbed new depths on Friday night as the Reds' Super Rugby defence took another heavy blow with a 23-13 loss to the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium.
Rookie five-eighth Sam Lane suffered a season-ending knee injury and rising Wallabies centre Ben Tapuai broke his collarbone within the opening seven minutes in a nightmare start.
Inspired by veteran playmaker Peter Grant, the Stormers made the most of the damage to race up a 17-3 halftime lead before quelling a spirited Reds revival to become the first South African team to win in Brisbane in three years.
Queensland skipper James Horwill, who was also replaced with a shoulder problem, gave the 31,548-strong crowd hope when he barged over on the hour mark but the Stormers' outstanding defence held on.
Although they enjoyed breakdown and lineout superiority, it just wasn't the defending champions night as they also had a bonus point taken away when Grant kicked a penalty on fulltime.
Playing against many of his old Western Province teammates, Cape Town-schooled Lane ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament when his right knee buckled badly as he made a jinking run with his first touch of the ball.
He'd barely left the field before Tapuai was crunched in a big tackle by Juan de Jongh in the lead-up to the Stormers opening try to Gio Aplon and a 10-0 lead.
After going into the match with a forwards-heavy 5-2 reserves bench, the Reds were forced to reshuffle their backline and even had No.8 Radike Samo in the centres at one stage.
A fifth-choice playmaker due to injuries to Quade Cooper, Mike Harris, Ben Lucas and Jono Lance, Lane had done well to retain the No.10 jersey with Harris and Lucas making their returns from hamstring injuries.
Queensland rued a litany of missed chances with lock Rob Simmons knocking the ball on over the line just after halftime.
A try then would have made the score 17-10 but instead an off-side penalty soon after allowed Grant, who slotted five from five in an 18-point haul, to kick his side to a 20-3 lead.
Fullback Luke Morahan also tripped as he was chasing a deft Lucas grubber into the in-goal and winger Rod Davies earlier dropped a pass with the line open.
Grant set up Aplon for the first try and stood up Samo for the second as the Stormers' first-half play was in stark contrast to the off-key Reds.