Super Rugby

Queensland Reds hold off sensational Fijian Drua fightback




Queensland Reds beat Fijian Drua 33-28 in a thrilling eight-try Super Rugby Pacific contest at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

The Reds held off a stunning second-half fightback from Fijian Drua as the two teams traded three tries apiece in a frenetic and fantastic final 33 minutes in Queensland.

The Super Rugby AU champions led 28-9 with 15 minutes remaining and looked to have sealed a comfortable bonus-point victory over the tournament’s new boys.

However, Onisi Ratave, Joseva Tamani, and Vinaya Habosi scored three sensational tries in six minutes to blow open the contest at 28-all with two minutes to play after Tela’s conversion attempt hit the post.

But it was not to be for the visitors when Seru Uru dived over in the corner with two to play to settle the match.

Jordan Petaia, Harry Wilson and Josh Nasser (twice) also scored for the Reds, who claimed a heart-in-mouth win to move into second on the Super rugby Pacific standings.

James O’Connor landed two penalties and a conversion (8 pts), while opposite number 10 Teti Tela knocked over three goals and two conversions (13 pts).

Uru and Habosi both had tries chalked off as well to add to the drama on Australia’s east coast.

Brad Thorn’s charges make it four from four to go ahead of the Crusaders, who were stunned by the Chiefs. They remain one of two teams (also Brumbies) to be undefeated in Super Rugby Pacific.

The Reds take control of the game after a solid first 40 minutes giving the hosts a deserved lead

Queensland took a two-try to nil 15-6 lead into the shed after a pulsating first half that saw three players yellow carded in the same attacking phase.

Fijian Drua finally played in dry conditions after three wet and slippery appearances in the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby tournament.

It showed as Mick Byrne’s side found holes in the Reds’ defence, yet poor handling and ill discipline proved costly.

Instead, it was the home team who took a couple of their chances with some slick backline handling.

Pataia and Wilson both crossed inside half-an-hour, while O’Connor landed a late penalty and conversion.

Petaia beat Baden Kerr on the outside to open the scoring in the fifth minute. The try came from some slick backline handling by the Reds to send the fullback away.

More slick backline handling by the Reds ended with Wilson taking Hunter Paisami’s inside pass and running over defenders to double his team’s tally early in the second quarter.

Standoff Tela added two penalties of his own to keep the visitors in touching distance.

Both teams had tries chalked off in an end-to-end first stanza.

Uru’s try was pulled back for a forward pass by Nasser in the build-up. Habosi was held up after Fijian Drua decided on a tap-and-go penalty.

Cards fly yet both teams cannot take advantage, but the drama was only beginning

Referee Jordan Way and TMO Brett Cronan continued to make calls when they decided on three yellow cards in the 33rd minute. All good calls, mind.

Despite having front-rowers Harry Hoopert and Nasser both yellow carded, the Fijians could make their numerical advantage count.

Tighthead prop Samuela Tawake also saw yellow for foul play in the same attack as the two Australians.

Meli Derenalagi’s team botched the opportunity when Habosi could not dot down near the corner because he got held up.

Instead, it was O’Connor who added the only points – after the hooter – following the sin-bins.

Thorn’s side was happier as they went into the tunnel with a gain of three points with only 13 players.

Tela knocked over his third penalty seven minutes after the restart to make it a one-score game, but O’Connor immediately cancelled out the goal.

Both teams struggled to break the defensive lines until before the hour when Nasser crashed over to make it 23-9.

McReight wanted to scrum, but O’Connor over-ruled, opting for touch. The standoff and skipper were not disappointed as the forwards barged their way over the line.

O’Connor hit the post, but the Reds had the bonus point.

Nasser’s fancy footwork bamboozled right-winger Selesitino Ravutaumada after Paisami sent the hooker down the sideline for his second score – and third Super Rugby try.

Paisami took the conversion, but his kick almost hit the opposite corner flag (and nearly proved costly).

Thrilling denouement as Fijian Drua mount unbelievable comeback

The Reds looked to be heading to a comfortable win when all hell broke loose.

On 67 minutes Tela put Mesulame Dolokoto through a hole in midfield.

The hooker’s raced into enemy territory, drew a defender before his deft pass put Ratave away down the right-hand touchline.

Minutes later, with Queensland on the attack, disaster struck for the hosts.

Jock Campbell, at first receiver, dropped a simple pass on the opposition’s 22. Joseva Tamani picked up the ball and raced all way down the field to score under the sticks.

Things went from bad to worse when the visitors stunningly drew level, moments later from a defensive scrum next to the touchline and outside their 22.

Apisalome Vota’s linebreak set up Habosi. The winger gathered the pass and sped away to level to the astonishment of the entire crowd.

Tela hit the post, but it did not matter because Uru’s late intervention broke Fijian hearts, and spared Australian blushes.

Final Score: Queensland Reds 33 (15)  Fijian Drua 28 (6)


Tries – Pataia, Wilson, Nasser (2), Uru
Pen – O’Connor (2)
Con – O’Connor
Drop –
Cards – Nasser, Hoopert (Yellows, 33′)

Fijian Drua
Tries – Ratave, Tamani, Habosi
Pen – Tela (3)
Con – Tela (2)
Drop –
Cards – Tawake (Yellow, 33′)

Match Officials
Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: Brett Cronan


Queensland 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 Harry Hoopert

Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Feao Fotuaika, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Connor Vest, 20 Tuiana Taii Tualima, 21 Spencer Jeans, 22 Lawson Creighton, 23 Mac Grealy

Fijian Drua

15 Baden Kerr, 14 Selesitino Ravutaumada, 13 Apisalome Vota, 12 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 11 Vinaya Habosi, 10 Teti Tela, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Vilive Miramira, 6 Meli Derenalagi (captan), 5 Ratu Rotuisolia, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Samuela Tawake, 2 Mesulame Dolokoto, 1 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa

: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Jone Koroiduadua, 18 Saulo Romumu, 19 Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, 20 Joseva Tamani, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Jona Mataiciwa, 23 Onisi Ratave

Recommended for you

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Queensland Reds hold off sensational Fijian Drua fightback - Super Rugby Live

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.