VIDEO: Brumbies edge Reds at the death
SUPER RUGBY AU: The Brumbies pulled off a last-gasp escape act Saturday with a Mack Hansen penalty after the full-time siren earning them a nail-biting 22-20 win over the Queensland Reds.
The Reds rallied from 14-3 down at the break with 17 unanswered points and looked set to snap a six-year losing streak in Canberra, only for heartbreak at the death.
It kept the Brumbies unbeaten in Super Rugby AU with four wins to top the table, seven points clear of the Reds in second.
Skipper Alan Alaalatoa admitted they rode their luck after intense Reds pressure.
“I think we did get out of jail, but you have to take your hat off to Mack there at the clutch moment,” he said. “But credit also to the Reds, they put us only pressure for the whole second half. But I’m really proud about how we found a way to win.”
It was a cruel blow for the youthful, and impressive, Reds.
“That’s a tough one. I think we did so many things right tonight, which was a massive improvement for us, and we fought to the end,” said captain Liam Wright.
“But the Brumbies are a class outfit and they know when to take the pressure and use it against you.”
— Plus500 Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) August 1, 2020
Renowned for their set-piece strength, the Brumbies applied all the early pressure and executed a perfect rolling maul from a line-out after just five minutes with Folau Fainga’a crashing over to open the score.
It was the hooker’s fifth try in as many games at home, with young prospect Bayley Kuenzie adding the extras to put them 7-0 in front.
The clash became an intense battle with crunching defence from both sides before the Brumbies produced another try in similar circumstances.
Again their forward pack, spearheaded by James Slipper and Alaalatoa, proved too strong, with Fainga’a once more getting the five points from a driving maul and Kuenzie converting.
But the Reds showed backbone and fullback Jordan Petaia, in his first outing since February after dislocating his shoulder, was unlucky to have a try disallowed after the half-time buzzer when a video replay showed a high tackle at the start of the move.
It sent them to the break seemingly disillusioned, but they returned on fire with two tries in an electric opening five minutes after the restart.
Petaia was again involved, offloading to Harry Wilson for the first before Angus Scott-Young barged over for a second, with James O’Connor converting both then kicking a penalty to put them 20-14 in front.
It set up an exciting finale with a third Brumbies try from the maul, this time to Lachlan McCaffrey, pulling it back to 20-19 with four minutes left. Hansen missed the conversion but was handed another shot at glory after full-time and this time made no mistake.
Man of the match: Harry Wilson was on the losing side, but he certainly deserves the award. He was a monster in open play with his powerful carries and he was one of his team’s two try-scorers.
Tries: Fainga’a 2, McInerney
Tries: Wilson, Scott-Young
Cons: O’Connor 2
Pens: O’Connor 2
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Cusack, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Issak Fines, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Queensland: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Hunter Paisaimi, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Feao Fotuaika, 18 Jack Straker, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, Reuben Keane
TMO: Ian Smith