Bench saw Reds home
Bench saw Reds homeSHARE
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie pointed to the replacements bench as the key to his team's narrow 12-11 victory over the Blues in Brisbane on Friday.
The Queensland side were forced to come from behind in the hard-fought battle, with Quade Cooper scoring the only points of the second half to clinch a nail-biter.
The win made it a historic first clean sweep over Kiwi sides for the Reds and McKenzie said that the contribution of the replacements in the final stages was decisive.
"It was taxing but we hung in there well enough to not allow the score to blowout and in the last 10 or 15 minutes I thought our bench gave us really good value.
"We were able to turn the tables and they started making errors. That was the difference," McKenzie said.
"It wasn't our finest game technically, but it was good in terms of character. That's what the game is about. It's a 22 man contribution sometimes and it was definitely that tonight," he added.
The Reds have now accumulated 18 of a possible 20 competition points from their four matches against New Zealand sides this season and end the day on top of the Super Rugby ladder with the Brumbies two points behind ahead of their clash against the Western Force on Saturday.
McKenzie said that while the record against Kiwi teams is satisfying, he has been particularly pleasd with the fighting spirit his team has shown in recent weeks.
"We've played the top three teams in the past three weeks and we've come away with two wins and a draw. We are happy with that bit," McKenzie said.
"Getting the record against the Kiwi sides is important as well, but from a competition point of view, the Blues are a pretty difficult team to play, so I'm glad we have that one out of the way," he said.