The St.George Queensland Reds scored three tries to one but were forced to settle for a 19-all draw in their round 10 Super Rugby Australian Conference derby against the ACT Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The Reds produced an entertaining and highly physical brand of Rugby to score three tries through Jake Schatz, Rod Davies and Liam Gill although would consider themselves unlucky not to walk away with the victory after crossing the tryline on an additional four occasions only to come away empty handed.
Prop Ben Daley and lock Rob Simmons were both deemed to be held up over the line while centre Anthony Faingaa and flyer Rod Davies also came agonisingly close in attempts to ground the football.
After trailing 13-7 at halftime, the Reds produced a spirited second half comeback to dominate possession and territory and ultimately came away with a valuable two competition points in front of a season high home crowd of 38,404.
“I was pleased we came here to play. We scored three tries and got over the tryline a bunch of times,” Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said.
“There was a big crowd and they wanted to see some action. In the end, we were determined to score tries so we got on with it. I was quite heartened by the way we went about things, which was quite productive.
“There was a heap of opportunities in the game so you can’t say we didn’t impose ourselves on the match. Unfortunately the scoreboard will never reflect that. Had we been a bit more disciplined at times we would have done better.”
Long periods of sustained attacking pressure forced the Brumbies to commit 12 of their 16 total penalties in their defending quarter and they were twice punished with yellow cards to centre Christian Lealiifano and reserve prop Scott Sio.
However, Reds captain James Horwill also conceded the Reds should have been more clinical with their opportunities.
“We went out there with a positive mindset and tried to play but there was some cynical stuff. But, in the end, we probably should have been better with our ability to execute, especially when they were down to 14 men,” Horwill said.
“We just wanted to keep the pressure on and the way we did that was by getting up and having them make more tackles.”
In a stop-start beginning to the game the Brumbies were first on the scoreboard through two Lealiifano penalty goals although the Reds struck back in the 13th minute when for the second consecutive week Schatz touched down following an 11-man rolling maul.
Lealiifano gave the visitors the lead 13-7 after finishing off a movement down the right flank but again the Reds wouldn’t go away as Davies flew onto a beautifully executed cut-out pass from flyhalf Quade Cooper.
A marginal kickoff penalty extended the Brumbies lead to 16-12 and they would go further ahead in the 58th minute when Lealiifano successfully kicked his fourth penalty goal of the night.
From this point it was all the Reds and continual pressure on the Brumbies line was eventually rewarded with Gill equalling the scores at 19-all, where it would remain during a frantic final five minutes of the match.
The Reds have now won six games and drawn once in nine matches this season and sit on 33 competition points, only two points off the competition lead.
They will get their next opportunity to narrow that margin when they take on Auckland’s Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. Tickets for the match are on sale through Ticketek: http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=QRREDS13#.UPUXI-jNc-U.
St.George Queensland Reds 19 (Jake Schatz, Rod Davies, Liam Gill tries; Quade Cooper 2 cons) drew ACT Brumbies 19 (Christian Lealiifano try; Christian Lealiifano con, 4 pens)