Brumbies comeback too good for Reds
Brumbies comeback too good for RedsSHARE
The 45-21 (seven tries to two) win in Canberra on Saturday means the Brumbies closed the gap on the Australian conference pace-setters – the Rebels and Waratahs.
They moved above the Brisbane-based outfit into third position in the Australian Conference standings, six points adrift of the Melbourne Rebels, who are in first place.
The Reds dominated the opening stanza – leading 15-0 at one stage and still held an 18-12 lead at half-time.
However, in the second half the Brumbies scored five tries, as their pack took control, and the Reds replied with a solitary penalty.
The home side were under the cosh for large periods early on, but took control of proceedings as the match progressed.
The Reds were fastest out of the blocks and were rewarded as early as the sixth minute when Chris Feauai-Sautia beat a couple of defenders before offloading to Taniela Tupou, who crossed for the first try.
The visitors dominated the possession ant territorial stakes for the next 20 minutes and after Jono Lance slotted a penalty in the 17th minute, Feauai-Sautia crossed for their second try five minutes later which gave them a 15-0 lead.
The Brumbies eventually came to life in the 27th minute when, from a line-out drive on the Reds' five-metre line, Folau Fainga'a barged over for his first Super Rugby try.
Wharenui Hawera converted before Lance succeeded with another penalty which meant the visitors led 18-7 by the half-hour mark.
The Brumbies narrowed the gap in the 34th minute when Naisarani crashed over for his first try, from close range, before Feauai-Sautia was yellow carded for a defensive foul, and although the Reds led 18-12 at half-time, the Brumbies were slowly gaining the initiative.
Naisarani's try proved crucial as the Brumbies continued where they left off in the first half, when they came out after the break, and they were rewarded with tries from Chance Peni and Rory Arnold soon after the restart.
Arnold's five-pointer was a memorable one as the big second-row did well to outsprint several defenders before crossing the whitewash. That try was converted by Christian Lealiifano which gave the Brumbies a 22-18 lead before Lance added another penalty in the 61st minute to reduce the deficit to three points.
But despite that penalty, the Reds faded badly and the final quarter was dominated by the home side.
In the 66th minute, the Brumbies took the ball through several phases inside their opponents' 22 before Sam Carter crossed for their fifth try and Lealiifano's conversion meant they had a 10-point lead with the clock winding down.
They did not take their foot off the pedal though and late tries from Naisarani and David Pocock sealed an emphatic win for the two-time champions.
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Fainga'a, Naisarani 2, Peni, Arnold, Carter, Pocock
Cons: Hawera 2, Lealiifano 3
For the Reds:
Tries: Tupou, Feauai-Sautia
Pens: Lance 2, Tuttle
Yellow card: Chris Feauai-Sautia (Reds, 39 – cynical foul, deliberately slapping the ball down)
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 James Verity-Amm.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Jean-Pierre Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Liam Wright, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)