The Crusaders snatched a sixth consecutive victory over the Reds with a late penalty to beat the Reds 20-22 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The Reds have not beaten the Crusaders since the 2011 Super Rugby final and have lost four matches in Christchurch and now two in Brisbane over the last six years.
The Crusaders outscored the Reds by three tries – two by half back Bryn Hall – to two in the match but needed the extra time penalty to edge the Queensland side.
The Reds failed to add any points on the scoreboard in the second half while the Crusaders scored 15 unanswered points.
The Crusaders victory comes a week after they earned a late victory over the Highlanders at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Against the Highlanders the Crusaders scored 24 unanswered points.
A fast start to the Reds saw them lead 17-0, but the Crusaders rallied to outscore the Reds 15 points to nil in the second half.
17,931 supporters were at Suncorp Stadium for the annual Ladies Round fixture, as the Crusaders stole victory with a penalty goal after the final siren had sounded.
Quade Cooper opened the Reds account with a penalty goal before Mitch Hunt pushed a similar attempt wide for the Crusaders.
Samu Kerevi beat two defenders in the 12th minute, claiming the first try of the match with a powerful run from first receiver.
Early in the match, the Reds showed purpose in defence, bringing a number of Crusaders’ attacking raids to a halt with strong tackling and industrious breakdown work.
Stephen Moore showed his playmaking ability, delivering a cut-out pass to Kerevi to put the centre through a hole before he offloaded to Eto Nabuli who crossed for his fourth try of the year.
With 13 minutes remaining in the half, a Digby Ioane chip kick bounced awkwardly and was pounced on my Crusaders scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond who crossed for the Crusaders’ first try.
Cooper extended the Reds’ lead to 13 points with a long-range penalty goal in the 35th minute and the Reds held on to lead 20-7 at half time.
After the break, the match turned into an arm wrestle as both teams failed to add to their points tally.
Scott Higginbotham looked to have broken the game open as he sliced through the Crusaders’ defence, but he fell short of the try line and the Crusaders scrambled well in defence.
Bryn Hall reduced the Reds’ lead to eight points with a try in the 63rd minute before Mitch Hunt’s conversion sailed wide.
Reds prop Markus Vanzati came on in the 64th minute to make his Super Rugby debut, as Queensland Representative Number 1310.
Crusaders replacement flanker Jordan Taufua was sent to the sin bin for striking in the 69th minute but the Reds failed to capitalise as possession escaped them.
Hall made it a one-point ball game, dotting down against the upright to take the scores to 20-19 with four minutes remaining.
A penalty in the dying stages was awarded to the Crusaders and Mitch Hunt stepped up, slotting the penalty goal to steal victory from the Reds.
Next week in Round Four the Reds fly to South Africa where they will play the Lions in Johannesburg. The Crusaders host the Blues at home in Christchurch.
Final Score Reds 20 (20) Crusaders 22 (7)
Tries -S. Kerevi, E.Nabuli
Pen – Q.Cooper 2
Con – Q.Cooper 2
Tries – M.Drummond, B.Hall 2
Con – M.Hunt 2
Cards -J.Taufua (68th min yellow)
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:Damon Murphy
TMO :George Ayoub
1. James Slipper (C) , 2. Stephen Moore , 3. Sam Talakai , 4. Rob Simmons , 5. Izack Rodda (run-on debut) , 6. Hendrik Tui , 7. George Smith , 8. Scott Higginbotham , 9. Nick Frisby , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Duncan Paia’aua , 13. Samu Kerevi , 14. Izaia Perese (run-on debut) , 15. Karmichael Hunt
16. Andrew Ready , 17. Markus Vanzati , 18. Taniela Tupou , 19. Kane Douglas , 20. Adam Korczyk , 21. James Tuttle , 22. Jake McIntyre , 23. Chris Kuridrani
Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Digby Ioane, Mitchell Hunt, Mitchell Drummond, Whetu Douglas, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Pete Samu, Sam Whitelock (capt), Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.
Replacements : Ben Funnell, Tim Perry, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Bryn Hall, Marty McKenzie, George Bridge.