[Source: Super Rugby Pacific/Twitter]
The Brumbies continued their unblemished start to the Super Rugby Pacific season with a 23-17 win against the Queensland Reds.
They looked in cruise control in skipping to a 13-0 lead after half an hour, but the Reds dug in with a far more competitive second half although they never hit the lead at GIO Stadium
Queensland had chances to win the game, twice held up over the Brumbies’ line in the final 20 minutes as the hosts again leaned on their defence for victory.
The Brumbies are now one of just two undefeated teams after three rounds, joining the Chiefs at 3-0 as they quickly assert themselves as one of the league’s top sides.
Battling rivals in Wallabies’ auditions, things could hardly have gone better for Brumbies duo Nic White and Noah Lolesio who patrolled proceedings with class in steering their side to victory.
Veteran White was in top form with his craftiness on full display, even nipping over for the first try of the night when left too much room by Reds foe Tate McDermott to cap a near-five minute spell of territory and possession.
Fullback Tom Wright also produced another stellar display in a battle of Wallabies No.15 options, but Queensland’s Jordan Petaiai made his mark on the contest too with a stylish double.
Wright was dominant and found 106m running in the first half alone, but Petaia came out of the sheds breathing fire with a surging run and an exquisite catch for a try in the corner on 53 minutes.
Petaia’s try followed another from a powerful run by forward Harry Wilson, although the Brumbies quickly reclaimed a 23-12 buffer after hooker Lachie Lonergan snuck over on the back of dominant forward presence.
The Reds’ fullback got over again to get them within six points in the final 10 minutes and the Brumbies blew two chances to put the matter beyond doubt, a Lolesio try called back for knock-on before he narrowly missed a penalty goal.
Queensland five-eighth James O’Connor changed the game after entering off the bench, looking the most creative player on the field and his side’s most lethal threat as they unsuccessfully chased the game late.
Looking to match it with their rival’s intensity, the Reds controlled the game’s first 15 minutes both via territory and possession, yet found themselves trailing after the Brumbies’ powerful pack forced an early penalty.
It was a vital early blow the visitors didn’t need, the Brumbies quickly pinching their handy break after their forwards found their feet via White’s crafty scoot.