Super Rugby

Brumbies stay top after ending Reds hoodoo

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Brumbies beat Queensland Reds 16-12 in a Super Rugby Pacific top of the table clash at GIO Stadium, Canberra.

The Brumbies won a hard-fought Australian Super Rugby derby to go top of Super Rugby Pacific, ending a three-match losing stretch against the Queensland Reds.

Both Brumbies (18) and Reds (17) started round five at the top of the Super Rugby standings separated by just a bonus point after going unbeaten in the first four games.

Not only was this a grudge match between the two best Australian franchises, but it was also a rematch of the 2021 Super Rugby AU final, which the Reds dramatically won 19-16 at Suncorp Stadium.


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Despite outscoring the home team by two tries to one, the visitors could not make their opportunities count.

James O’Connor and Josh Nasser scored for Brad Thorn’s men, while Tom Wright, last season’s tie Super Rugby AU top scorer, crossed for the Dan McKellar’s charges.

O’Connor could only add a conversion, missing a penalty and Nasser’s conversion from the touchline.

Noah Lolesio kicked a penalty and added two from Wright’s try before Nic White and Ryan Lonergan added second-half goals to keep the Brumbies ahead.

The Brumbies led 10-7 at the break as the teams shared a try apiece in a stop-start first stanza

Each of the previous three matches between these storied franchises saw the Brumbies leading at the break but the Reds coming out on the winning end in thrilling scenes.

O’Connor – who starred in last year’s Super Rugby AU final, scoring all 19 points – and Wright both dotted down by the posts.

Lolesio opened the scoring, but the visitors notched the first five-pointer.

A multiphase attack inside the Brumbies’ 22 ended when O’Connor waltzed under the posts after stepping inside Folau Fainga’a to dot down on 25 minutes.

O’Connor converted to turn his try into a goal, but on the half-hour mark, Wright touched down.

The 24-year-old flyer latched on to Irae Simone’s deft left-foot grubber and scored his 21st Super Rugby try next to the posts.

It was, however, Lolesio’s boot that edged the home team ahead after O’Connor’s missed penalty.

Both sides continued to struggle at scrum-time, leaking penalties in the wrong areas; however, no one could make the pressure count.

Jahrome Brown thought he scored in the corner, but O’Connor’s last-ditch tackle saved the day for the visitors.

Another attack did, however, end in points for the Brumbies when Nic White added a penalty on 55 minutes to make it 13-7.

Darcy Swain went to the bin soon after stealing a poor Nasser lineout throw.

Instead, Nasser had the last laugh when he took Seru Uru’s swift pass and beat Andy Muirhead to the corner flag.

It was the 22-year-old hooker’s third try of the season and fourth of his career.

O’Connor’s conversion attempt shaved the righthand post, keeping the hosts in front by one, as the game entered the final quarter.

Queensland fail to take chances as Brumbies dominate the second half

For all the home team’s possession and territory after the interval, they could not cross the try line.

Multiple attacking situations ended with either a turnover or handling error, which led to Allan Alaalatoa’s side settling for two penalties to stay ahead.

Lonergan took the points after a 10-phase attack ended with another penalty in front of the poles.

McKellar’s side, despite being down to 14 for 10 minutes, should have finished off the opposition, but they could not find the final pass as their decision-making failed.

The capital side did, however, manage to keep the Reds to an unconverted try to a penalty during Swain’s time on the sideline.

Their solid defence made all the difference, although, the two-time Super Rugby champions should have put the game away but for several infuriating mistakes in the last quarter of an hour.

The Brumbioes’ profligacy almost proved costly; however, Queensland could not cash in.

Fraser McReight should have scored from a mistake by Simone at the death, but the ball hit the post, allowing Rodney Iona to dot down.

The Reds had a final attack on the opposition’s line, but Hunter Paisami’s knock-on near the chalk killed Queensland’s chances for the win.

Final Score: Brumbies 16 (10) Reds 12 (7)

Scorers

Brumbies
Tries – Wright
Pen – Lolesio, White, R. Lonergan
Con – Lolesio
Drop –
Cards – Swain (Yellow, 58′)

Reds
Tries – O’Connor, Nasser
Pen –
Con – O’Connor
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 1: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: Brett Cronan

Teams

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper

Replacements:
16 Connal McInerney, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Rodney Iona, 23 Jesse Mogg

Reds

15 Jordan Petaia, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Josh Flook, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight (captain), 6 Seru Uru, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Josh Nasser, 1 Dane Zander.

Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Connor Vest, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Spencer Jeans, 22 Lawson Creighton, 23 Isaac Henry

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