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He's done it! Local boy boots Brumbies to thrilling win over Reds

Sat, 01/08/2020, 11:59 am
Christy Doran
by Christy Doran
The Brumbies host the Reds in a top-of-the-table clash at GIO Stadium in Round Five.

At long last Super Rugby AU has come alive, with the Brumbies stealing victory over the Queensland Reds with the last kick of the game to win 22-20 in Canberra on Saturday night.

The Reds appeared to have sealed the deal, but kicked the ball away with less than a minute remaining to allow the Brumbies one last chance.

After more than a dozen phases, Reds replacement back-rower Fraser McReight was pinged for being off his feet at the breakdown to leave Mack Hansen the chance to steal victory with a long-range penalty.

Having missed a conversion less than 10 minutes earlier, Hansen didn't need a second chance as he slotted the penalty from 40 metres out to hand the Brumbies a thrilling win.

"Just really happy for Mack, as we said in the sheds born and bred Canberra boy, he's been supporting the Brumbies since he was a toddler so for him to step up with confidence and kick a clutch winning penalty goal was brilliant," Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.

It was a heartbreaking result for the Reds, who had earlier overturned a 14-nil deficit to score 20 unanswered points to move ahead after 50 minutes.

But a missed penalty attempt from James O'Connor came back to bite the Reds midway through the second half.

It wasn't all bad news for the Reds though, with 20-year-old sensation Jordan Petaia making a successful return from shoulder surgery.

Coming off the bench, the versatile back was the catalyst behind his side's comeback.

Petaia thought he had scored after the half-time hooter, but his five-pointer was cancelled out after the TMO intervened and told onfield referee Nic Berry to overturn his injury because of an earlier reckless high shot from Test forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

It was a frustrating moment of madness from Salakaia-Loto which has kept Australian selectors frustrated by his ill-discipline.

He also put No.8 Harry Wilson away under the sticks with a sublime offload in the 42nd minute.

"I think everyone in rugby in Australia is happy to see Jordy - after a tough run of injuries and just an outstanding young man - put in a reasonable shift considering he hasn't played in a heck of a long time," Reds coach Brad Thorn said.

The two-point win extended the Brumbies' lead at the top of the Super Rugby AU standings, with Dan McKellar's side moving to 18 points while the Reds' losing point saw them move one point clear of the Rebels in second spot.

Thorn paid tribute to his side's character.

"I keep going back to these guys around their ticker, massive ticker," Thorn said.

"Credit to the Brumbies. They hung in there as well and got their result."

Early on and it was all the home side.

The Reds were putting on some big shots, but for all their grunt it was the Brumbies that were winning the territory and possession battle.

Test hooker Folau Fainga'a once again found himself on the scoresheet early, scoring in just the fifth minute.

The visitor's best early chance was in the 12th minute when Wilson managed to steal the ball and galloped away inside the Brumbies' 22 metre line, but after releasing the ball back the Reds then were pinged for not releasing as the home side got on the ball.

Fainga'a then found himself on the back of another rolling maul in the 33rd minute and the unstoppable moving train helped the hooker grab his second try.

But from that point on the Reds managed to turn the momentum.

Petaia's disallowed try was a coach killer on the stroke of half-time, as Salakaia-Loto hit Tom Wright high after the winger dropped the ball before the Reds managed to score five phases later through their returning star back.

He might not have scored the Brumbies' first try after half-time, but Wilson had his back to thank for sending him through a lovely ball.

Three minutes late and Wilson once again broke free. He might have been reeled in, after Filipo Daugunu sent him away after bursting onto a lovely inside ball from James O'Connor, but one phase later Scott-Young burrowed over to score.

O'Connor then stretched the Reds' lead out to 20-14 after slotting a penalty from straight in front.

But his missed three-pointer midway through the second-half proved to be pivotal.

The final half-hour was a ding-dong battle. Eventually the Brumbies returned to one of their pet-plays, as they returned to the maul. The decision paid off as replacement hooker Connal McInerney scored out wide in the 75th minute. 

Mack Hansen's missed conversion meant the Brumbies still trailed by a point.

He didn't miss with his second effort, landing a long-range penalty to seal a memorable two-point win in the nation's capital.



TRIES: Fainga'a 2, McInerney

CON: Kuenle 2

PEN: Hansen


TRIES: Wilson, Scott-Young

CON: O'Connor 2

PEN: O'Connor

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