Brumbies resist Reds surge for draw
April 20, 2013
Digby Ioane ran powerfully all night for the Reds
© Getty Images
The Brumbies have withstood a fierce Queensland Reds onslaught to claim a 19-19 draw in a brutal Super Rugby showdown in Brisbane on Saturday night.
Queensland played with width and adventure from the outset, and they scored three tries to one at Suncorp Stadium, but the Brumbies reclaimed the Rod Macqueen Cup as Christian Lealiifano scored all their points in an impressive audition for a Wallabies jersey. Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg also starred for the visitors, laying the foundations for Lealiifano's first-half try and also saving three Reds five-pointers with last-ditch tackles in the corner. But the Brumbies' nigh impregnable defence was the major factor in the result, holding out Queensland for sustained periods and twice when they were down to 14 men.
Leading 19-12, the visitors spent most of the closing stages on their own line as they kept coming up with desperate tackles but also infringing at the ruck and off-side. In the end, Will Genia put Liam Gill over and Quade Cooper converted to tie the scores to set up a tense final four minutes that finished in anti-climax.
Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen praised his side's desperation, but Reds captain James Horwill was disappointed with their below-par finishing. "We shot ourselves in the foot," Horwill said. "We built pressure then there was those little bits we didn't execute to get over the line We executed the game plan we wanted to, but in the end it was that last pass that let them off the hook a little bit. And a couple of silly penalties in that second half told on the scoreboard ... at time we were out own worst enemy."
Mowen said: "There was a lot of effort to hold them out for as long as we did on our tryline. Probably a little bit of ill-discipline cost us, but it's just desperation that's coming out." Brumbies coach Jake White said "to keep them out wave after wave, I'm very proud".
White also praised both sides for the "Test" intensity of the game, saying the drawn result showed the strength of the Australian conference. "The ticker they showed at the end there ... to see a guy like Will [Genia] kicks the ball out directly with five minutes to go shows you what pressure does to people. You've just got to be proud."
The much-hyped No.7 battle between George Smith and Gill also finished in a stalemate as both were among the best players for their teams.
There was little between the teams in the first half as the Reds created more chances but the Brumbies were better at reaping points from their opportunities to lead 13-7 at the break. Twice, electric winger Rod Davies went inches from scoring following Digby Ioane busts while Queensland also failed to score a point despite immense pressure when Lealiifano was sin-binned for a professional foul.
The Brumbies scrum was largely dominant while the Queensland lineout ruled the roost - and the Reds scored their opening try through Jake Schatz at the back of an 11-man driving maul from such a set-piece.
The Brumbies regained the lead when Lealiifano crossed in the 24th minute but he was yellow-carded for a professional foul on his own line soon after.
The Reds almost produced one of the tries of the season just after the resumption, but the 75-metre movement came unstuck at the last moment when centre Anthony Faingaa was taken over the sideline just before grounding the ball in the left corner. But the hosts crossed in the 48th minute when fine work from the forwards paved the way for winger Rod Davies to dive over in the right corner, Cooper throwing a perfect cut-out pass for the winger to score.
Lealiifano slipped into five-eighth when Matt Toomua was replaced with a neck injury early in the second half, and he continued his goalkicking strike rate in booting two more penalties to finish with five from five.
The Reds continued to test the Brumbies' defence with some enterprising attacking raids, but they were let down by poor execution and that was the case again in the 58th minute when a stray Genia pass after a break was collected by a Brumbies player. Soon after, the Reds were penalised at the breakdown and Lealiifano had his fourth penalty goal to open up a 19-12 lead for his team.
The loss of replacement Scott Sio to the sin-bin in the 69th minute took its toll on the Brumbies five minutes from full-time when the Television Match Official ruled in favour of Gill when he crossed the tryline off a Genia pass.
The Reds and the Brumbies could not be separated after a titanic battle (video available only in Australia)
© AAP with Sportal
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