The Plus500 Brumbies have gone down to the Queensland Reds 24-22 at Suncorp Stadium in yet another classic in Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU.
The Brumbies led the game until the 75th minute but a James O’Connor penalty gave a gutsy Reds side the advantage in the closing minutes and they managed to hang on for the win.
It was Folau Fainga’a who got the scoring started on the night, a brilliant rolling maul giving the hooker a chance to dart down the blindside and he got the ball down over the line.
The Reds didn’t look rattled by the Brumbies opening try, but a loose Queensland pass found Tom Banks inside the Brumbies red-zone and the fullback raced home to give the visitors a two-score cushion with Noah Lolesio converting.
Again, the Reds responded, though they relied initially on kicks at goal, two penalties from O’Connor drawing them to within a converted try, 12-6.
A Bryce Hegarty try was ruled out for a knock-on minutes from half time, and the Brumbies took that let off with both hands, Nic White converting a penalty goal from inside his own half to give the Brumbies a 15-6 lead at the break.
A nine-point advantage never felt like enough for the visitors however, and it was the Reds who struck first in the second stanza, Josh Flook finding his way across the chalk on the left flank.
O’Connor’s conversion made it a two-point game, but the Brumbies moved swiftly to re-establish their lead, Tom Wright crossing out wide after some slick hands in midfield.
Lolesio’s pint-point conversion made it 22-13, the Brumbies final points of the evening. At no stage did the home side seem defeated, and they continued to hunt more tries.
The breakthrough finally came when O’Connor hoisted a league-style kick to the corner and Jordan Petaia leaped highest to score.
Both teams defended admirably, but it was the Reds work at the breakdown and their dominant scrum which would tell the tale.
A penalty at the scrum saw O’Connor give the Reds the lead, and some stout defence and ruck pressure from Brad Thorn’s side held the Brumbies out at the death, the final score 24-22.
The Brumbies now look to a tough visit to Melbourne to take on the Rebels, already guaranteed to host the Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU Semi-Final at GIO Stadium in three weeks time.
Plus500 Brumbies 22 (T: Fainga'a, Banks, Wright; C: Lolesio 2; P: White) def by Queensland Reds 24 (T: Flook, Petaia; C: O'Connor; P: O'Connor 4)
The Plus500 Brumbies play the Melbourne Rebels in Round Nine of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Sunday April 18 at 2:00pm. LIVE and AD FREE on the new Home of Rugby, Stan Sport.