Canberra’s Brumbies beat the Queensland Reds 28-23 at GIO Stadium to become Australian champions and win the first Super Rugby AU title.
By winning the Super Rugby AU title it is the first Brumbies Super rugby title for 16 years as their last Super rugby proper title was in 2004.
The Brumbies outscored the Queensland Reds by three tries to two and led the match 15-13 at half time.
The Brumbies led 15-3 early in the first half but the Reds came back and trailed by two points at half time.
Early in the second half the Brumbies built a comfortable lead but the Reds came back at them again and kept the pressure on and came close to scoring and snatching the victory and title.
Reds captain Liam Wright said: “We just know this team has got a lot of fight and I’m incredibly proud of the boys who put in a lot of effort.”
“We didn’t quite get there tonight but I think everyone knows we gave it our all … we’ll be back.”
- Overall possession and territory stats for the match were both at 54% for the Brumbies and 46 for the Reds.
- The Reds missed 17 tackles the Brumbies only missed 8.
- The Brumbies made 101 tackles to the Reds 96.
As the match went into the final quarter it looked like the Reds were in for a heavy defeat. They were trailing by 15 points (28-13) and were a player down after winger Filipp Daugunu had been sent to the sin bin for a yellow card from a dangerous tackle.
Instead, the Queensland side rallied and put themselves in a strong position to win the match which ensured a thrilling and tense finish to the match. Just a couple of crucial errors at critical times cost them the opportunities.
In the final quarter, the Reds played to win the match while the Brumbies tried to close out the match and hold on for the win.
Man of the match was awarded to Brumbies star playmaker Noah Lolesio while Jordan Petaia must have come close before he injured himself in a scintillating move that saw him limping from the field at the break and did not return for the second half.
Later the Reds also lost Lukhan Salakaia-Loto to injury. Daugunu’s yellow card didn’t help matters either.
The Brumbies were the first to score in the fourth minute with a penalty from Lolesio.
Reds star James O’Connor landed the first of his three penalties to level the scores. He would go on to become Super Rugby AU’s leading point scorer.
The Brumbies were also the first to score a try and following a rolling maul from a line out Folau Fainga’a was driven over the line. The Brumbies were next to score again as Andy Muirhead sliced through the Reds defenses.
Lolesio was on target with Fainga’a’s try but with Muirhead’s try he hit the post.
Trailing 15-3 with ten minutes remaining the first half Jordan Petaia dodged his way through the Brumbies before offloading to Harry Wilson who scored the Reds first try.
O’Connor was on target with the conversion and then again just after the half time siren with a penalty to reduce the points deficit to just two points at the break.
In the early part of the second half, the Brumbies did all of the scoring. Tom Banks crossed for a try six minutes after play had resumed and Lolesio converted.
Lolesio kept the scoreboard ticking for the Brumbies with a drop goal which put the home side ahead 25-13.
In the 58th minute, O’Connor scored the Reds first points of the second half and five minutes later Angus Blyth scored by picking up a loose ball that had been knocked ahead by a boot. The TMO team reviewed the try from all angles and awarded it.
That try cut the lead back down to five points with just over 15 minutes left to play. The Reds continued to put the Brumbies under pressure but ultimately came up short and the Brumbies held on for the win.
Final score Brumbies 28(15) Reds 23(13)
Tries -F.Fainga’a, A.Muirhead, T.Banks
Pen -N.Lolesio 2
Con – N.Lolesio 2
Tries – H. Wilson, A Blyth
Pen – J.O.Connor 3
Con – J.O’Conor 2
Cards – F. Daugunu (50th min yellow).
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Amy Perrett
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Keane
TMO : James Leckie
1. Scott Sio , 2. Folau Fainga’a , 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c) , 4. Murray Douglas , 5. Cadeyrn Neville , 6. Lachlan McCaffrey , 7. Will Miller , 8. Pete Samu , 9. Joe Powell , 10. Noah Lolesio , 11. Tom Wright , 12. Irae Simone , 13. Tevita Kuridrani , 14. Andy Muirhead , 15. Tom Banks
Replacements : 16. Connal McInerney , 17. James Slipper , 18. Tom Ross , 19. Nick Frost , 20. Rob Valetini , 21. Nic White , 22. Bayley Kuenzle , 23. Solomone Kata
JP Smith, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Filipo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell
Replacements : Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Angus Scott-Young, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Jack Hardy