The St.George Queensland Reds have fallen 22-20 to the Brumbies in Canberra, with a penalty goal after the full-time siren ending the side’s unbeaten start to the Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition.
In the top of the table clash, the hosts dominated the opening half to lead 14-3 at the break, before a two-try blitz in the opening minutes of the second forty saw the Reds hold a 20-14 advantage for much of the second half.
The Brumbies fought back in the final minutes to come within one-point of the lead, with a Mack Hansen penalty after the siren eventually delivering the home side a two-point victory in a heartbreaking finish at GIO Stadium.
Backrow duo Angus Scott-Young and Harry Wilson scored for Queensland in the narrow defeat, while Jordan Petaia made his long-awaited return from injury for the Reds.
Head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s disappointing but that’s the game.
“Credit to the Brumbies, they hung in there and got the result.
“We were really happy with our defence – the physicality around it, the work rate and the effort going into it.
“Tonight our attack started to come through there, but we’re never satisfied and have lots to work on and improve.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ll take the bonus-point and head back and go in to preparing for the next one.”
The Brumbies dominated possession early, opening the scoring with a rolling maul try to hooker Folau Fainga’a in the fifth minute.
Gritty Queensland defence kept the hosts from advancing their lead until the 32nd minute, when Fainga’a had his second five-pointer via another dominant rolling maul effort. Bayley Kuenzle slotted the conversion attempt to stretch his side’s advantage to 14-nil.
James O’Connor cut the Reds’ deficit on the stroke of half-time with a penalty goal, and Queensland looked to have their first try of their night soon after with an 80-metre team play finished off by Petaia. However, the play was called back for a high tackle, as the Brumbies headed to the sheds with a 14-3 lead.
Queensland were first to score in the second stanza, Wilson crossing after Petaia busted the line and found the number-eight on his inside with a neat offload. O’Connor converted to bring the scores to 14-10.
A try to Scott-Young gave the Reds their first lead of the night in the 45th minute, O’Connor sending Filipo Daugunu flying through a gap with a deft inside ball, before the winger found Wilson who then linked with his fellow backrower Scott-Young to score. O’Connor again converted to give his side a 17-14 advantage.
An O’Connor penalty in the 49th minute put the Queensland lead out to 20-14, and the margin would remain that way until the 75th minute when the Brumbies crossed for their third rolling-maul try of the night. Connal McInerney was the scorer, the try cutting the Queensland lead to just one point with minutes remaining.
As the siren sounded, the Brumbies continued to press the Queensland defence, before a penalty from 40-metres out gave the hosts the chance to snatch victory. Hansen made no mistake, slotting the penalty to inflict Queensland’s first loss of the competition.
The Reds will look to bounce back next round when they face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday 8 August.