The Brumbies kicked a penalty after the hooter to grab a 22-20 victory over the Reds and continue their unbeaten start in Canberra on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The win helped the Brumbies solidify their place at the top of the Super Rugby AU table, going seven points clear of the Reds, who climbed into second place after coming away with a losing bonus point.
It was heartbreak for Brad Thorn’s Reds side, who put in a massive second-half effort after trailing their opponents 14-3 at the half-time break, earning their way back into the contest thanks to a try each from two of their loose forwards and the boot of James O’Connor.
The Brumbies, who came into the match with a perfect three out of three record, looked comfortable in the first half and flew into a 14-0 lead thanks to a brace from hooker Folau Fainga’a – both from rolling mauls.
O’Connor slotted his first penalty to get his side on the board just before the interval and the Reds continued their momentum in the second half, with Harry Wilson taking just three minutes to score before his loose-forward partner Angus Scott-Young went over just minutes later to give the Reds the lead for the first time in the match.
Another couple of penalties from O’Connor put the Reds into a settled 20-14 lead, but the Wallabies playmaker missed a crucial fourth penalty which may have been enough to give his side a win.
The game changed soon aftre that as the Brumbies once again turned to their maul, which had Fainga’a’s replacement Connal McInerney go over near the corner with five minutes to go. While replacement flyhalf Mack Hansen missed the touchline conversion, he took the chance to redeem himself after the Reds failed to keep possession beyond the hooter and gave away a penalty on the 10m line, which Hansen held his nerve to convert.
Brumbies – Tries: Folau Fainga’a (2), Connal McInerney. Conversions: Bayley Kuenzie (2).
Reds – Tries: Harry Wilson, Angus Scott-Young. Conversions: James O’Connor (2). Penalties: O’Connor (2).
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzie, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (c), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Cusack, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Issak Fines, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Reds – 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (c), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander.
Subs: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Feao Fotuaika, 18 Jack Straker, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Photo: Getty Images