The Brumbies edged the Reds 22-20 to remain unbeaten after Round Five of Super Rugby AU at GIO Stadium, Canberra.
Mack Hansen kicked an 84th-minute penalty to break Reds hearts as the Brumbies edged Queensland in the top of the table clash in the nation’s capital.
The Brumbies continue their hold over fellow Australian teams with a ninth derby win in a row.
The defeat extends the Queensland Reds’ losing streak to seven in Canberra, suffering their first defeat of the campaign in dramatic fashion.
Folau Fainga’a grabbed a first-half brace – from two rolling mauls – and Bayley Kuenzle kicked both conversions as the Brumbies took a 14-0 lead.
The 25-year-old hooker’s try tally is up to 24 in Super Rugby, and he has nine this season.
James O’Connor kicked a late penalty to put the Reds on the board. Jordan Petaia had a try ruled out, and Kuenzle missed a penalty after the hooter, to re-establish the two-score lead.
Brad Thorn’s charges came out firing after the break, scoring 17 unanswered points to turn an 11-point deficit into a six-point lead.
Harry Wilson and Scott-Young crossed for tries, and O’Connor’s boot did the rest as the Brumbies looked shell-shocked.
Connal McInerney pulled a try back for the hosts after another bulldozing driving maul. However, Hansen’s conversion was no good.
It did not matter because Hansen redeemed himself with the match-winning kick after the hooter to keep the unbeaten Brumbies at the summit of Super Rugby AU.
Brumbies dominate the first stanza as Queensland’s ill-discipline hurts the visitors, whose dogged defending kept them in the contest.
The Brumbies had more than 80 per cent possession and territory in the first quarter.
Dan McKellar’s men could not make their dominance count despite Fainga’a’s sixth-minute try.
Thorn’s side was on the backfoot; they had to make 80 tackles inside 20 minutes as the Brumbies starved them of possession.
Fainga’a opened the scoring after the Brumbies forwards laid siege on the Queensland goal-line.
It took three rolling mauls before the hooker flopped over the chalk for his eighth Super Rugby try of the season and fifth in a row at GIO Stadium.
Kuenzle added the extras.
Ill-discipline hurt the Reds, who could not hold onto the ball when they did get their hands on it.
Thron’s men, finally, had a sustained period of possession in attack but did not make it count. Instead, the Brumbies marched down the field to set-up another series of attacking lineouts.
On 33 minutes, and after several driving maul attempts from multiple penalties, Fainga’a got his double.
His 24th Super Rugby try came after another patient rolling maul decimated the opposition’s pack.
Kuenzle slotted the conversion to put the hosts 14-0 up.
O’Connor got his team on the scoreboard with a penalty two minutes before halftime.
Petaia had his try chalked off for a high tackle on Tom Wright by
The Reds collected the loose ball, and Filipo Daugunu mounted a counter-attack from his 22.
Queensland marched down the field, and Petaia crossed.
But the referee Nic Berry and TMO Ian Smith looked at the replay of the incident and chalked off the try for Lukhan Salakaia-Loto’s shoulder hit on Wright.
Luckily for the visitors, the Brumbies – surprisingly – opted for a shot at goal instead of going for another driving maul.
Kuenzle missed the kick. It would prove a costly error and a turning point in the contest.
Reds strike twice in the second half to stay in the game despite living off scraps.
Wilson takes Petaia’s deft offload to race away and scores under the posts.
Irae Simone’s loose pass saw Queensland collect the ball after it bounced off the boot of a Reds player to kickstart the counter-attack.
The Reds kept the ball alive before Wilson’s angled run opened up the Brumbies’ defence.
Three minutes later, Scott-Young crashed over after O’Connor sent Daugunu through a hole. The winger combined with Wilson, who went close before the lock barged over.
O’Connor’s conversion, and another penalty on 50 minutes, put the visitors six points ahead.
By now, the hosts were reeling under the pressure of the relentless Reds attacks. The visitors’ scrum started to get on top as Taniela Tupou won his 30th scrum-penalty of 2020.
The Brumbies manage to pull a try back late in the game to set up a thrilling finale.
But Queensland’s lineout, however, fell apart, hindering their chances of winning the game.
O’Connor missed a 69th-minute penalty that would have given his team a two-score lead.
The fullback made a mistake in the 74th-minute when he conceded a penalty that allowed the Brumbies to kick to the corner and score their third try.
McInerney dotted down for the hosts, but the conversion was missed, keeping the home team a point behind with less than five to play.
It did not prove decisive because the hosts found a way to mount the last attack after Queensland sloppily conceded possession after the siren sounded, which is criminal at this level.
After 14 phases, the Reds conceded a needless penalty at the breakdown to give their hosts a chance to steal the points.
Up stepped Hansen to win the game.
Final Score: Brumbies 22 (14) Reds 20 (3)
Tries – Fainga’a (2), McInerney,
Pen – Kuenzle, Hansen
Con – Kuenzle (2)
Tries – Wilson, Scott-Young
Pen – O’Connor (2)
Con – O’Connor (2)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Jordan Way
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: Ian Smith
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.
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