The ACT Brumbies hung on to defeat the Queensland Reds 23-20 and consolidate their lead in the Super XV Australian Conference in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.
The Brumbies led 20-3 after 31 minutes, but the Reds fought their way back in the second half, dominating territory and possession to get within three points with 11 minutes left, but the Canberra-based outfit dug in and finished the Australian derby in Queensland’s half as the clock wound down.
The victory lifted the Brumbies’ lead to five points over the New South Wales Waratahs, who are due to play Western Force today.
It was a bitter defeat for the Reds and they have now lost their past four games by five points or less.
“We are extremely pleased with the win. It’s a difficult place to come and win, the Reds are a good side anyway, but when they play at home they grow an extra leg,” Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said.
Stephen Larkham’s Brumbies have now won eight of their 11 games in Brisbane and lead the Reds 18-5 overall, with one draw.
“We needed to capitalize on things we did earlier in the match, we built some good pressure,” Reds skipper James Horwill said. “That’s probably the third or fourth result that we’ve lost by three points, so we need to be better.”
The Brumbies started better and scored in the ninth minute when forward Scott Fardy scored after Quade Cooper lost the ball near his line.
Ill-discipline cost the Reds points and Nic White kicked the Brumbies to a 10-point lead, before winger Joe Tomane scored in the 31st minute off a long pass from White.
Queensland pulled back to trail 20-10 at halftime after flanker Beau Robinson scored off a driving maul.
The Reds had the Brumbies under enormous pressure and had a try by Will Genia disallowed after an infringement and Rod Davies lost the ball in Tomane’s tackle close to the Brumbies’ try-line.
Cooper was also over the line, but lost the ball, before Ed Quirk scored off a dominant scrum.
Cooper kicked his 700th point in Super Rugby with a penalty to nudge the hosts to 23-20, but that was as close as they got.