Mon, Mar 25, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Reds revival sweeps along as Brumbies are brushed aside

AFP, BRISBANE, Australia

A revival by the Queensland Reds yesterday gathered pace with their second win in a row, storming past a tired and outplayed ACT Brumbies 36-14 in energy-sapping conditions.

The Brisbane-based team crashed to defeat in their opening three Super Rugby games, but stunned the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend with a gritty 34-31 win and dominated the Brumbies.

Scott Higginbotham, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Bryce Hegarty all scored tries for a bonus-point victory.

It was a testament to their fitness levels in a game played in stifling 34oC heat and high humidity that saw the Brumbies flag in the second half.

“Really pleased with how we started. It’s something we’ve been working on for the past few weeks,” Reds skipper Samu Kerevi said.

“Really proud of the boys,” he added, saying that their “intent” throughout the entire 80 minutes was what pleased him most.

Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano admitted his team deserved to lose.

“They came with a lot of energy and probably beat us in the physicality area. We’re disappointed, but we’ll go away and look at that — and look to improve,” he said.

The Brumbies opened with a period of intense pressure with virtually the entire first 10 minutes played in the Reds’ half, including an epic 27-phase play from the hooter.

However, the home team’s defense was rock solid and they soon took the attack to their Canberra rivals, with Higginbotham wriggling his way over the line from a ruck 5m out to open the scoring.

It was Higginbotham’s 39th Super Rugby try, extending his own record as most-ever by a forward.

Hegarty slotted the conversion, then a penalty as the Reds began to dominate, going into halftime with a 10-0 lead in front of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Seemingly revived by the break, the Brumbies quickly worked the ball to the Reds’ 22m line before sending it out wide to Henry Speight, who crashed over. Lealiifano nailed the conversion.

However, it was a futile effort with two quick Reds’ tries reasserting their authority.

For the first, Kerevi beat a Brumbies defender on the sideline and, as space opened up, offloaded to Feauai-Sautia, who ran unchallenged to the line.

Feauai-Sautia was at the heart of the next, picking up a loose ball and passing to McDermott, who sprinted from the half-way line.

Debutant Jahrome Brown pulled one back for the Brumbies barely 20 seconds after coming on, before Hegarty got the Reds’ fourth with a long-distance run and Paenga-Amosa put the final nail in their coffin on the siren.

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