Reds sneak past Brumbies at the death

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

They say old habits die hard but the Reds have shaken their late game wobbles to record a miraculous 16-15 win against the Brumbies.

There were 13,264 loyal fans that spent their Friday night watching what shaped as a dour affair engulfed by thick fog but with 20 minutes to play, the match came to life.

In a year of dire Reds performances, this looked as though it may have been their worst yet.

But a 180 degree form reversal in the final 20 minutes saw the Queenslanders come out on top and they have their young guns to thank for that.Hamish Stewart scored the try that put the Reds back in the match. Photo: Getty ImagesCampbell Magnay was at his explosive best on both sides of the ball, Izaia Perese turned his outstanding Australian U20s form into a terrific performance, Duncan Paia'aua starred at inside centre and Hamish Stewart came on at fullback to score the try that put them back in the match.

But all of that developed in the second half, as the first term was an error riddled display that had Suncorp Stadium as quiet as a church mouse.

Quade Cooper kicked the Reds to a 6-3 lead at the break and while he was perfect off the tee tonight, he was anything but in general play, as he forced his hand in the unusually slippery conditions.

In doing so, he had a kick charged down, threw passes at the feet of his support and had a pair of knock ons in Reds territory.

The second half got even worse for the mercurial flyhalf, as he let a ball slip from his grasp in the in goal area, allowing Kyle Godwin to plant it for the Brumbies' second five pointer of the night.It was a seriously tough slog through the fog at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Getty ImagesWhere Cooper struggled, the old firm of Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas thrived.

Perhaps Simmons should have played at blindside flanker for all of his Reds career, as he attacked Brumbies runners with aggression in defence, ran hard, straight lines in attack and even managed a Cooper-esque flick ball.

Douglas only played 53 minutes but he looked to be a man on a mission.

He was flying out of the defensive line all night and other than a carry in which Sam Carter stripped the ball, his running game was back at its powerful best.James Tuttle and the Reds were outsmarted by the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesThere really was nothing to report from the first term but the Brumbies took control as soon as they emerged from the sheds for the second half, just as they did when these two teams met in Canberra.

There was a clear directive from Stephen Larkham to attain better field position and after doing so, a rolling maul was collapsed by George Smith and a penalty try was awarded.

Smith was also sent to the bin and that was soon followed by Cooper's mishap and Godwin's subsequent try at the 54 minute mark, setting the score at 15-6 as the Reds charged down field.

But a rolling maul was held up over the line, the following scrum turned into a Brumbies tighthead win and the ensuing lineout was stolen.

The Brumbies camped in the Reds half for the next 10 minutes and it took a Duncan Paia'aua line break to spark the Reds try that gave them a sniff in the final five minutes.Both teams were tested at set piece time tonight. Photo: Getty ImagesThe inside centre was strong all night and it was his carry which created the overlap for Smith to find Hamish Stewart through contact, the young gun diving over with nine to play.

Cooper slotted the shot at goal from the sideline and suddenly, it was a 15-13 game with the Reds desperately trying to give the 13,264 fans something to cheer about.

A smart Karmichael Hunt kick then pinned the Brumbies in their own 22 and after forcing the turnover from the ensuing maul, the Reds were on the attack again.

A solid scrum set the platform for an outstanding inside ball from Cooper to Perese, the young gun jetting through the hole but falling two metres short of the line.

When he tried to pop the ball back, Andrew Smith was in the way and after the ball hit him in an offside position, the home side were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks and Cooper slotted the match winner.

RESULT

Reds 16

Tries: Stewart

Cons: Cooper

Pens: Cooper 3

Brumbies 15

Tries: Penalty Try, Godwin

Cons:

Pens: Hawera

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