Queensland Reds flanker Liam Gill scored a 75th-minute try that Quade Cooper converted to give the home side a 19-19 draw against the table-topping ACT Brumbies in their Super Rugby match in Brisbane yesterday. The Brumbies took what opportunities they had to score points while the Reds opted not to take several kickable shots at goal and were denied several tries through desperate Brumbies defense.
Brumbies inside center Christian Lealiifano scored all of his side’s points with a converted try and four penalties to earn the draw.
Lealiifano slotted two early penalties to give the visitors a 6-0 lead before the Reds refused kickable shots at goal to set up an attacking lineout from which No. 8 Jake Schatz crashed over from a rolling maul.
Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg then gave his side field position with a 50m dash that sliced the Reds open and after recycling the ball for 11 phases to create an overlap, Lealiifano crossed in the corner.
He converted to give the Brumbies a 13-7 lead, but was then sinbinned after the Reds had turned down two further shots at goal and taken quick tap penalties.
The home side, however, were unable add any further points even with the extra-man advantage and went into the break 13-7 down.
The Reds continued to attempt to play at a high pace in the second half with winger Rod Davies crossing in the corner after some superb buildup work from his forwards and following sustained pressure inside the Brumbies’ 22m area.
Lealiifano slotted two additional penalties, and the visitors spent the rest of the match defending.
Gill scored six minutes later to move the Reds to fourth in the table.
CRUSADERS V HIGHLANDERS
AFP, CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand
The Canterbury Crusaders returned to winning form and left the Otago Highlanders’ season in tatters yesterday as they triumphed 24-8 in a New Zealand derby.
It was a much-needed, but far from convincing win for the seven-time champs after their upset loss to the Western Force last week.
They led 16-0 at halftime and scored two tries to one to further deflate the Highlanders, who have now gone 11 games since they last tasted victory.
The Crusaders enjoyed overwhelming control during the match, but the up-and-down form that has plagued them throughout the year continued as they failed to make the most of their opportunities.
Playing with the strong breeze behind them in the first half, and with the dominant forward pack controlling scrums and lineouts, the Crusaders held 63 percent of possession and 86 percent of territory.
However, they were unable to find the tryline until Robbie Fruean scored on the stroke of half-time.
Until then they had lived off three penalties by Tyler Bleyendaal.
The Highlanders struck first after the break when a long cut-out pass from Aaron Smith put Jason Emery over in the corner, but any thoughts of a reversal of fortunes were soon erased.
Bleyendaal landed a fourth penalty and Colin Slade replied for the Highlanders before Tom Taylor scored the Crusaders second try from an overlap with four minutes remaining.