The St.George Queensland Reds have secured their second win of the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby season with a come-from-behind 41-17 victory over the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium.
In front of a crowd of 7,335, the visiting side raced out to a 17-nil lead by the 16th minute with a dominant three-try assault, before the Queensland attack kicked into gear as the Reds ran in six unanswered tries, including four in the second-half, to claim a bonus-point victory.
Head coach Brad Thorn said: “I love seeing that maroon jersey and I love seeing Queenslanders be Queenslanders, that’s what Queensland is all about.
“Two things I love about this team is they show character, they always front, they’re not a team that only plays well at home, they always front.
“17-nil down it was just basics, defensive errors and stuff like that.
“The guys were adapting and switching onto the stuff, they consolidated, and they got within three at half-time and then they finally kicked into gear.
“They got their stuff together and they played it out – 41 unanswered points,” said Thorn.
Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier dived over with a show-and-go to open the scoring in the seventh minute, after the visitors had camped in the Queensland half for much of the initial exchanges of the match.
The Bulls had their second five-pointer minutes later, Rosko Speckman crossing close to the right-hand touchline to extend his side’s lead to 12-nil.
Chris Feauai-Sautia was shown a yellow-card in the 15th minute to reduce the Reds to 14-men and the visitors quickly capitalised through Warrick Gelant, who outpaced the chasing Queensland defence down the right sideline to score his side’s third try.
With Feauia-Sautia returned to the field, Queensland hit back for their first try of the night through Liam Wright, who burrowed his way through the defence from short range to score his third try of the season. Bryce Hegarty added the extras to cut the Bulls’ lead to 17-7 with ten minutes of the opening-40 remaining.
A stunning team sequence gave Queensland their next try, with nine sets of hands and a series of silky passes and offloads engineering a 40-metre break, before Isaac Lucas scored under the posts to finish the play. Hegarty again converted to bring the score to 17-14 at the half-time break.
The Reds carried their momentum back onto the field, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto giving his side the perfect start to the second stanza after a deft Taniela Tupou short ball put the backrower over the line on the back of a Scott Malolua break. Hegarty missed the tough conversion attempt as Queensland secured their first lead of the match at 19-17 in the 42nd minute.
Hegarty extended the lead to five-points with a penalty goal in the 61st minute, before an inch-perfect James O’Connor long ball sent Alex Mafi over to score in the 69th minute and put Queensland’s advantage out to 27-17.
A Harry Hoopert five-pointer gave the hosts an unassailable lead soon after, Henry Speight pouncing on a loose Bulls’ pass from within their own 5-metre line before linking with Hoopert who forced his way over to score. Hegarty converted to make the score 34-17 with seven minutes remaining.
Taniela Tupou secured his side a bonus point win with a sixth and final try in the dying minutes, the bustling prop charging his way through the defence from short range to score and put the final result out to 41-17.
The Reds have a bye in the next round of Super Rugby, before hosting the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium in Round 9 on Friday March 27 at 6:15 AEST.