The Brumbies 2021 unbeaten run has come to an end in an absolute thriller, going down 40-38 to the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium last night.
The Brumbies led for much of the night, until a try in the dying minutes secured victory and top spot on the Super Rugby AU ladder for the Reds.
The home side were in their Indigenous Jersey’s for the first ever First Nations round and fittingly it was proud Indigenous man Andy Muirhead who brought the game to life.
He delivered a beautiful offload to Pete Samu who danced down the touchline for the opening try of the night.
The momentum kept rolling for the Brumbies as they marched down the field and Folau Fainga’a dived over for the Brumbies second of the night to make it 17-0 after just 14 minutes.
Despite the early lead, the Reds showed plenty of fight, kicking two penalty goals before former NRL winger Suliasi Vunivalu scored in the corner to bring the Reds back to 17-13.
The Brumbies responded with a lovely floating pass from Nic White finding Samu on the wing who crossed easily for his second.
A penalty from O’Connor left the score at 24-16 at the break.
The Brumbies would strike first in the second half, again through Fainga’a but injuries to Tom Ross and Scotty Sio turned the game on its head.
The Reds started to dominate the Brumbies scrum and it ultimately led to scoreboard pressure.
Two quick Reds tries from close-range left the score at 31-30 with 10 minutes to play.
The Brumbies lifted, and a brilliant try from Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and conversion from Ryan Lonergan gave the Brumbies a 38-30 lead with just seven minutes to go.
However, the Reds refused to surrender and a quick penalty brought them back within striking distance.
Then a brilliant try from Jordan Petaia right next to the goal posts gave the Reds a two point lead with just seconds remaining.
The Brumbies had one final chance with the ball but couldn’t capitalise, the Reds holding on for a thrilling victory on the road.
Despite the loss, fans would be proud of the performance from the Brumbies who ended the match without their top four props.
Captain Allan Alaalatoa and James Slipper were already sidelined and losing Sio and Ross made the task almost impossible against a quality Reds side.
The Brumbies have a timely bye round next week, giving them extra time to lick their wounds. Their next match is against the Western Force at GIO Stadium on Friday 26 March.
Plus500 Brumbies 38 (T: Samu 2, Fainga’a 2, Fines-Leleiwasa; C: Lolesio 4, R.Lonergan 1; P: Lolesio)
Queensland Red 40 (T: Vunivalu, Tupou, Wilson, Petaia; C: O’Connor 4; P: O’Connor 4)
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