Lolesio boosts Brumbies past Reds in one-point thriller

March 31, 2024 4:54 am

[Source: Canberra City News]

The ACT Brumbies have edged the Queensland Reds in a one-point thriller, Tom Wright scoring twice as the visitors retained their status as Australian Super Rugby front-runners.

The Reds led by nine on Saturday in Brisbane after their rolling maul created two second-half tries.

But five-eighth Noah Lolesio’s boot and in-form fullback Wright were the difference as the Brumbies won 20-19 and improved to 5-1 after wing two straight games at Suncorp Stadium for the first time in 10 years.

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Lolesio was perfect off the tee, converting both tries and kicking two penalties, the second giving his side a lead they clung on to for the final 11 minutes.

The Reds flew out of the blocks and had a try through Josh Flook inside three minutes, the opportunistic centre again on the spot to finish a neat sequence that began with Tom Lynagh’s sharp inside ball to lock Seru Uru.

They went close soon after, but Corey Toole’s covering tackle knocked the ball loose from a diving Jock Campbell.

The Reds fullback then knocked on in the midfield and watched as opposite number Wright skipped outside him to score the equaliser.

Sefo Kautai looked to have slammed down the Brumbies’ second, but replays showed he had spilled it before the line.

Stephen Larkham’s side lost Test hooker Lachlan Lonergan to a lower-leg injury, the No.2 taken in a swinging tackle from the smaller Tate McDermott.

A long-range Lolesio penalty kick gave them a three-point edge at halftime and the visitors, in front of nearly 18,000 fans, applied the early pressure after the break.

But a Jordan Petaia break turned the tide, the Brumbies judged to have brought down a Reds maul as a penalty try was given and Rhys Van Nek was yellow-carded.

The Reds repeated the dose and this time replacement hooker Josh Nasser finished it himself to give the hosts a 19-10 lead.

Wright had the reply though, skipping outside McDermott to score his second and make it a two-point game with 18 minutes to play.

Lolesio’s boot put the Brumbies back in front after 70 minutes, the Reds earning a last-ditch shot when the pack won a scrum penalty against the fee.

But they went nowhere in 10 phases, the Brumbies’ defensive line pushing the Reds backwards and eventually pressuring them into a mistake.

The Reds forwards pushed through another scrum and the ball bobbled out, but there was no penalty and the Brumbies held on to possession to see the clock out.

It marks the second straight loss for the Reds (3-3), while the Brumbies (5-1) remain nestled in the competition’s top four.