The Queensland Reds beat the Brumbies 26-7 in Round 10 of Super Rugby AU at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
The Reds scored three tries and kept the Brumbies from scoring in the second stanza as they warmed up for a playoff clash with the Melbourne Rebels next week.
It was third time lucky in Super Rugby 2020 this season for the Brisbane side against the Canberra men.
The defeat is only the Brumbies‘ second in 11 Super Rugby games, but they have a spot in the final waiting for them at home in two weeks.
The Reds led by 11 at halftime after tries from skipper Liam Wright and Chris Feauai-Sautia.
James O’Connor added two penalties and a conversion as the hosts opened up a 38-minute 18-0 lead.
But the visitors caught the home team cold on the stroke of halftime. Pete Samu scored and Bayley Kuenzle converted to cut the deficit.
The Brumbies topped Super Rugby AU, and a bye in the bank, before playing either the Melbourne Rebels or Reds at GIO Stadium in two weeks’ time.
The Rebels stunning late win over the spirited Western Force saw this game deemed a dead rubber, although nobody told Queensland, who came out firing.
A scrappy second half saw the Brumbies dominate the territory and possession stats. Yet, with all the ball, they kept finding ways to not score.
A turnover here and there lost lineouts; knock-ons near the opposition’s try-line. For all the phases they put together, they could not get through the Red wall.
Instead, it was the hosts who scored the first points against the Brumbies in the last quarter of a Super Rugby in the last few matches when O’Connor landed a 65th-minute penalty.
Tate McDermott moved to the wing in the second half, scored another try as the home team celebrated their fourth home win in a row against the Brumbies.
Brad Thorn’s men dominated the stats.
They had over 60% of both possession and territory and should have had a bigger lead at the break.
Queensland captain Wright opened the scoring with an early try for his team after some silky skills by Jock Campbell.
The dead rubber match was played with intent as both sides put in some hits.
The Reds’ rush defence rattled the Brumbies inside the opening quarter as they looked to deliver a blow to the tournament favourites before the playoffs.
O’Connor added a penalty to increase his side’s lead to eight.
Two massive hits come before Bayley Kuenzle spills the ball in contact.
Tevita Kuridrani, after missing the tackle that led to the first try, blew a great opportunity in the 22nd-minute.
He lost the ball in the act of grounding after a sublime Brumbies counter-attack from inside their half.
The Reds’ tackling was ferocious as they hit their opponents back on the gain-line.
O’Connor’s forward pass ruled out a second try to keep the visitors in the contest.
The pressure finally told. Feauai-Sautia finished off a silky backline move that began from a scrum.
O’Connor took the ball to the line before slipping a pass to Hamish Stewart. Stewart, under pressure from a defender, popped quickly to Campbell.
The fullback hit the line, drew the defender and sent Feauai-Sautia away. O’Connor converted to make it 18-0 with three to play before the break.
Brumbies strike before the break as the Reds were caught napping.
Tom Wright, at fault with both Queensland tries, set-up Samu for a try on the hooter to keep the Brumbies in touching distance.
Dan McKellar’s men began to take control of the early stages after the interval.
They brought the possession and territory down to around 55% as they attacked the Reds.
Good defending kept the Brumbies out, but they were knocking on the door.
Mistake and poor discipline seeped into the usually disciplined table toppers. Every time they came close to the chalk, they knocked-on or were tackled out or short.
Something was missing for the visitors, but take nothing away from the Brisbane men. They did not give away easy points.
It was as though Thorn was sending a message to their opponents and the Rebels.
With time running out, the game opened up. Both teams had chances before one was taken.
Bryce Hegarty missed a late penalty, but McDermott won the game when he gathered a bouncing ball and raced away to score in the corner.
Final Score: Reds 26 (18) Brumbies 7 (7)
Tries – L. Wright, Feauai-Sautia, McDermott
Pen – O’Connor (3)
Con – O’Connor
Tries – Samu
Con – Kuenzle
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Jordan Way
TMO: Brett Cronan
15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Harry Hoopert
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Hunter Paisami
15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simon, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Solomone Kata