The Queensland Reds have defeated the Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific ladder-leaders the Chiefs 25-22 in dramatic fashion at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
The win is Queensland’s first in New Zealand since 2013, while also brings an end to the Chiefs’ 10-game unbeaten streak this season.
With the scores locked at 22-all, Tom Lynagh kicked Queensland into the lead with three-minutes to play, before the Reds repelled 27-phases of Chiefs attack to clinch one of their finest wins in recent memory.
Proud Brothers product Paddy James made his Queensland and Super Rugby Pacific debut in the win, while Zane Nonggorr scored his maiden try in the maroon jersey.
The hosts opened the scoring with a try out wide to Etene Nanai-Seturo in the fifth-minute.
Queensland hit back soon after, George Blake scoring his second Super Rugby try from close range after a build-up of phases on the Chiefs’ line. The wind intervened with Lawson Creighton’s conversion attempt, the ball falling from the tee to keep the scores locked at 5-all.
Both sides were unable to convert attacking opportunities for much of the remainder of the first-half, before a long-range try against the run of play saw Nanai-Seturo score his second and the home side take a 12-7 lead.
Queensland again responded quickly, this time through Tate McDermott who snuck through the defence on the stoke of half-time. Creighton made no mistake with his second conversion, locking the scores at 12-all at the break.
The Reds came out firing early in the second stanza, Jock Campbell crossing out wide after Queensland pressured the visitor’s line for several phases. The try gave the Reds their first lead of the night at 17-12 in the 43rd minute.
Chiefs flyhalf Damien McKenzie steadied the ship with a penalty in the 47th minute, but Queensland had their third eight-minutes later. Nonggorr was the scorer, the prop burrowing his way through the defence to score his first Super Rugby try and give Queensland a 22-17 advantage with 25-minutes to play.
Resilient Reds defence kept the Chiefs from finding the line for their third try of the night, before Samipeni Finau broke through, McKenzie’s conversion evening the ledger at 22-all with seven-minutes to play.
Tom Lynagh kicked the Reds back into the lead with a penalty in the 77th minute and the Chiefs had multiple opportunities to claim victory, but were unable to break through the stubborn Queensland defence.
The Reds held a final attacking raid up over the line to bring an end to the game and secure a heroic three-point win.
Queensland return home in Round 13 of Super Rugby Pacific and will face the Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Friday 19 May. Buy tickets via https://bit.ly/3NO63Ye.
Tries: Etene Nanai-Seturo 2, Samipeni Finau
Conversions: Damien McKenzie 2
Queensland Reds 25
Tries: George Blake, Tate McDermott, Jock Campbell, Zane Nonggorr
Conversions: Lawson Creighton
Penalties: Tom Lynagh
At Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth on Friday 12 May.