REUTERS: Centre Jordan Petaia scored a try two minutes from time as the Queensland Reds came from behind to seal a 40-38 victory over the previously unbeaten ACT Brumbies in their Super Rugby AU clash at the Gio Stadium on Saturday.
Petaia ran onto a grubber kick to score under the posts and snatch victory for the visitors, who held onto their 100per cent start to the new campaign as they closed the gap on the table-topping Brumbies to two points with a game in hand.
Former Rugby league star Suliasi Vunivalu scored his first Super Rugby try for the Reds following his switch of code to go with scores for prop Taniela Tupou and number eight Harry Wilson, while flyhalf James O’Connor kicked 20 points.
The Brumbies dominated much of the contest and led 31-16 just past the hour-mark thanks to a brace of tries each from number eight Pete Samu and hooker Folau Fainga'a.
Wing Issak Fines also crossed for the home side, who lost prop Scott Sio and flanker Tom Cusack to injury, which helped the Reds gain the upper hand in the physical contest.
The Brumbies raced into a 17-0 lead after 15 minutes as Samu and Fainga'a crossed for tries, but that seemed to spark the Reds into life. After O’Connor had landed two penalties, his line-break provided the chance for Vunivalu to score in the corner.
The Brumbies turned the tide again when Samu scored his second in the opposite corner, and the home team led 24-16 at halftime.
The hosts lost Sio early in the second period to what looked like a serious shoulder injury, although they mauled over for their fourth try through Fainga'a shortly afterwards.
The momentum had swung though and prop Taniela Tupou forced two tightheads at the scrum and then burrowed over for a try to keep the Reds’ interest alive. Wilson crossed after more set-piece dominance to narrow deficit to a single point with 10 minutes to go.
Fines extended the home lead again, but the Reds were forcing them into conceding penalties with their incessant pressure, and O’Connor narrowed the gap with a three-pointer before Petaia got on the end of a clever grubber kick and negotiated a difficult bounce for the game-winning score.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson)