Reds finish regular season with win over Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
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Reds finish regular season with win over Brumbies

Reds finish regular season with win over Brumbies

Even before the Rebels’ final minute win over the Force earlier in the day, the Reds’ clash with the Brumbies was, on paper, meaningless.  The Brumbies were guaranteed the week off having finished clear enough on top of the ladder, whilst the Reds 2nd place spot could not be usurped.

Beyond paper, however, there was plenty to play for.  For the very reason that the two teams are expected to play off again in two weeks time in the Grand Final.  For the very reason that the last time these teams met it was an epic encounter, culminating in a win to the Brumbies on the back of a (controversial) last minute penalty kick from Bailey Kuenzle. For the very reason that the Reds had a point to prove on their back of their clash way back in January when they let a 10-point half time lead slip for yet another loss to the team from Canberra.

In short, this game had plenty to play for – and it delivered.

First Half

Jock Campbell Brumbies v Reds Super Rugby 2020 (Photo Credit QRUBrendan Hertel)

Jock Campbell found early space for the Reds (Photo Credit QRU/Brendan Hertel)

Both teams looked sharp early and tried their hand at taking their attack wide. For the Brumbies, their first attempt was stymied by a Fraser McReight pilfer penalty giving the home team some strong early territory and ball.

It was territory that led to points as Jock Campbell sliced through the Brumbies defence and offloaded a backhanded pass to put his captain Liam Wright away to open the scoring. Reds 5-0.

Ever the composed outfit, the Brumbies refused to let the early score affect them and continued to attack.  An opportunity came with a smart backline move from a lineout, with Andy Muirhead unable to grab a well weighted kick into goal.

The Reds would not let such an opportunity to claim points slip by and took a rare penalty shot when given the chance soon after. Reds 8-0.

The moment many were waiting for came soon after as a Tom Banks kick for touch, following a penalty, gave the Brumbies their first chance to use their rolling maul.  The Reds defused it masterly however a Nic White snipe saw him almost over the line. His opposite number, Tate McDermott, along with Harry Hoopert were able to hold him up and the pressure was relieved again.

McDermott was again saving tries soon after as some sharp interchanging between Will Miller, Darcy Swain and White had Tevita Kuridrani away and clear for a certain try.  McDermott’s last-ditch tackle and, in fairness, some average ball control saw the Brumbies 13 drop the ball over the line.

Once again, the Reds opted for points on reaching the Brumbies’ quarter and winning another penalty. With their attack looking dangerous, Wright would have been tempted to look for another seven with ten minutes to go in the half, but the shot at goal was a sound decision. Reds 11-0

The further the half went, the more frustrated it seemed the Brumbies got. If anything, they lost a bit of their mojo with the passes not sticking and the backs running towards the sideline rather than the try line.

It was another failed backline play, and an Irae Simone drop, that granted the Reds a scrum in perfect attacking position.  O’Connor brought it right and a lovely catch and pass by Stewart gave Campbell enough space to put Chris Feauai-Sautia away for important try in the shadows of half time. Reds 18-0

The Brumbies would not allow the home team to have it all their own way, though. The Reds with the heads seemingly already in the change rooms, were found short as the Brumbies found space down Feauai-Sautia’s wing with Tom Wright unloading to Pete Samu to charge over almost unopposed.  Reds 18-7

Second Half:

The Brumbies started the half with Len Ikitau on for Simone but also a lot sharper and straighter in attack. It was only back to back Liam Wright pilfers that prevented any early point scoring.

Moses Sorovi Brumbies v Reds Super Rugby 2020 (Photo Credit QRUBrendan Hertel)

Moses Sorovi looked sharp with some rare minutes (Photo Credit QRU/Brendan Hertel)

While both teams were playing with good intent it was their coaches, more specifically Brad Thorn, who reminded us the status of the match.  He rang the changes with 30 minutes to go bringing on Moses Sororvi (for Feauai-Sautia with McDermott going to the wing), Josh Nasser, Tuaina Taii Tualima and Ruan Smith. With Hunter Paisami coming on for a ginger Petaia as well, the depth of the Reds bench would soon be tested.

Queensland were successful in defusing another Brumby driving maul and then held out for repeated phases of attack before Swain knocked on veritably over the line. It was symbolic of the first quarter of the 2nd half as neither team were able to maintain possession long enough to really threaten the line. It was not until O’Connor kicked a penalty after a Will Miller foul that the scoreboard clicked over again.  Reds 21-7

It was all Brumbies in the second half, at least in terms of territory.  The attack was still disjointed and helped by an average home team kicking game.  If it wasn’t Reds forwards turning over the ball, it was the Brumbies spilling it themselves.

Another defused lineout maul gave the Reds a rare chance to spend some time in the Brumbies half.  A rather harmless kick by Bryce Hegarty was spilled by the previously impressive Bailey Kuenzle allowing ‘wonder-winger’ McDermott a shot to regather and race away for another try. Reds 26-7

The match ended, fittingly, with McReight grabbing another pilfer and Campbell booting the ball into touch. The Brumbies left plenty of points on the field, and you could make an argument that the score flattered the Reds. But that would discount their composed and precise rugby, most notably in the first half.

Another Suncorp win for the Reds over the Brumbies would stretch their undefeated run there to five years. Ironically their last loss to the Brumbies was back in 2015 with a young Tom Banks making his Super Rugby debut, for the Reds.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto Brumbies v Reds Super Rugby 2020 (Photo Credit QRUBrendan Hertel)

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto takes on Darcy Swain (Photo Credit QRU/Brendan Hertel)

The Game Changer

Pete Samu’s pre-half time try, combined with a more clinical start to the 2nd stanza, should have seen the Brumbies build some key momentum. But any opportunity to was nullified by two back to back pilfers by Liam Wright.  Stopping any early points was critical to the end result.


Liam Wright won the official Man of the Match award, the Frank Ivory Medal awarded to the Reds player of the match in their Indigenous round, and I can’t go past him either. He was exceptional both on and with the ball and as the impressive leader he has become.

Wallaby Watch

Plenty of match ups here across the park.  McDermott perhaps edged White but both were classy.  Campbell bettered Banks in the first half but the Brumby was better in the 2nd. Wilson and Samu both had their moments.  Elsewhere Tupou, Stewart and Petaia all had the better of their opposite number and Wallaby contender.

Reds 26:

Tries: Liam Wright 7’, Chris Feauai-Sautia 27’, Tate McDermott 76’
Conv.:  James O’Connor 38’
Pen.: James O’Connor 18’, 31’, 65’

Brumbies 7:
Tries:  Pete Samu 40’
Conv.: Bailey Kuenzle 41’


YC:  Nil


9,922 (highest Suncorp post covid)

  • Westo

    Coming from the game and watching a bit on Kayo in the cab and I am stoked. As a Long time reader with the occasional post (one made the courier mail in 2015) but fuck yeah, it’s great to see this team develop.

    I watch GPS rugby second grade at 1300h beat Uni with an amazing 2nd half come back to win by one (41-42) and what a game at 32-16 at the half. So much skill. Aggression. Passion. Amazing.

    The Brumbies – I love this team but like Uni didn’t play to there strengths or skill. And when they did, the Reds shut it down forcing the error. That defence was rockn. Further exacerbated by great captining and goal hitting. I also feel the Brumbies have had a great home advantage this year throughout elevating there status. The Red have had 9 away games this year (I made that up but it’s fucking up there)

    Reds- yes.

    • Yowie

      the occasional post (one made the courier mail in 2015)

      There must be more to this “post in the Courier Mail” story. Please elaborate if you don’t mind.

      • Reds Revival

        That was the post where Westo claimed to have seen an alien Walrus sleep with Quade.

        • Yowie

          Probably reported as fact citing Westo’s witness testimony.

  • Brisneyland Local

    With good selection of in form players and an ‘actual’ game plan instead of Ass Clown madness, we will be competitive. I am not 100% sure we will win, but we will defeinitely be competitive.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, happy Father’s day to all the dads out there.
    Mine is perfect so far, kids still asleep, sitting here with Coffee doing the GAGR thing. Pure heaven. BL’s mad ramblings on Father day:
    – It was certainly a warm night here in Brissy last night with a bit of humidity thrown in, I definitely think that was a factor last night, and think that had more of an impact on the Ponies, especially flying directly up from bollocks cold Peter Harvey land.
    – The Reds defence was Epic! Their clean outs and counter rucking brutal. Infact both teams break down work was impressive.
    – The wonky line outs re-appeared. Jeepers what we would do for Hookers taht could throw straight.
    -Liam Wright was balistic. Green and Gold Jersey for him.
    – Pete Samu was brilliant for the Ponies, gee he accelerates so quickly.
    – IMHO I think Tate McDermott out played Nic White. But I would be happy to see Nic White adn Tate McD be the Wallabies 9’s.
    – The K train appeared really out of sorts last night. Bombed an easy try and dropped a few pills, admittedly one or two of those drops were off bad passes.
    – Nela Tupo is gold and just played himself into the 3 jersey. Absolutely scrum dominant, and runs like a back. Pure gold.
    – For all of the Reds fans though we need to beware. You flog a team, adn them come back at you twice as hard. And this time they will be doing it in Canberra, at the stadium that is a graveyard for most other Aus teams.
    Overall it was a fantastic game, and finally the Reds are playing like they should be. They really seem to enjoy the dirty stuff, which is great to see. The Ponies had an off night in warm conditions after a plane ride. I dont expect them to be that bad in 2 weeks time.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Steve

      Great game from the Reds BL.

      And a terrible one from the Brumbies – Worst thing is that they actually had plenty of opportunities to gain the lead had they been able to execute basic skills. I can’t recall any of the Aus teams looking so unable to execute basic catch and pass, let alone the table toppers.

      Tupou absolutely hammered Sio who has looked well out of form in the scrum all year.

      For mine the only two Brumbies who came out looking good were Samu and Valetini, good Lord those two are powerful athletes they make me embarrassed of my genes.

      Should be a cracker in Canberra should the Reds make it through next week!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I think the pressure from the Reds from the very start forced the Ponies to make mistakes. Which is unusual for the Brums. But I think the Brums looked gassed by the 25 min mark, and I put that down to the warmth and humidity and stepping straight off a plane. Samu and Valentini were excellent. I think Samu is underated, well definitely was in the Ass Clown era.

        • laurence king

          Underrated by Chieka, it’s sort of a badge of honour really.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Anyone Cheika wouldnt want would be a starter in my book.

        • Alister Smith

          Phil Gould commenting on the Souths vs Melbourne mungo game this week said, Wayne Bennett sides don’t wrestle, they hit. There is an even great temptation to wrestle in rugby defence or “seal the ball” etc but I think this Reds side has a bit of that Bennett style defence – and, like you say, it forces errors. Having said that, all the backrowers played well from both sides.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yes we have a bountiful supply of them which is fantastic.

    • Yowie

      Wanna go halves in the profits from a line of “rucking brutal” unofficial Reds merchandise?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Fuck Yeah!

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover


        • Reds Revival

          I’m in. Fourths!

      • Custardtaht

        Who knows, there may just be enough fans to break even.

        • Yowie

          Well, that’s what the ATO will hear.

    • Happyman

      Happy Father’s Day to you BL

      I actually think the light at the end of the tunnel may not be on oncoming train as it has been for the Reds for some time for this long suffering Reds fan.

      The Reds were great and the Brums were off the pace. I would suggest that the travel is a factor. We have all flown for two hours for a meeting and by the time we fly home that night we are pretty tired. Can you imagine fly for two hours get to a stadium warm up play elite rugby and then straight back to the airport. Pretty tough. I think the Reds may actually be better prepared for this if they make the finals as they have done it a few times.

      PS how good were both back rows just trench warfare in that space last night.

      Also imagine if CFS had not had such a bad body as far as injuries were concerned. He is still only 26 I still remember the first time the sniper got his hamstring from the top deck of Suncorp.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep. CFS, Fillipo Dangunu, and Jordan P. All brilliant. FD, is some real class, what a step.

        • Huw Tindall

          Would you take Jock Campbell if you have to pick one of them?

        • Brisneyland Local

          JC had a great game, I just wonder whether it is one season too early to introduce him to the darkness. But as they say, if you are good enough then you are old enough. I would def take FD, and possibly JP!

        • Mica

          I noticed that JC throws a fantastic pass. Really accurate and out in front of the runner. For me JP is the really class in the backline. FD is going well, but JP is really world class. I just hope he stays fit!!

    • laurence king

      It has been a few years coming but this young Reds team seems to have arrived.

      • Brisneyland Local

        It is on its way, dont know if it has puled up to the station but is within sight.

        • Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel for you BL?
          Or maybe that’s just Thorn with a torch looking for his car keys.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Or Thorns candles around his alter.

        • Alister Smith

          it was another “in carpark” appointment after a world wide coaching search so maybe the torch-keys thing is a reality.

          TBH I am a huge Thorn fan, so the above comment is very much tongue in cheek, but I also think the initial COVID lockdown was a huge benefit because it has allow the attacking coach to bring more of his influence and they are a much improved and more well rounded side in this second phase of the season.

          The Brumbies handling was well below what we would normally expect from them – as great as the Reds performance was, and it was, I did feel the Brumbies inability to sustain pressure because of poor handling let them down.

          The contest at the ruck from both sides was immense – McReight and the bloke from the Brumbies (can’t remember his name – discard from the Waratahs) were great over the ball.

          As much as the Reds will be happy with that, it doesn’t give them any points start against the Rebels next week and the Brumbies will be a different side in Canberra in a fortnight’s time for whoever gets through.

          This has been a great little comp and I have enjoyed this short season perhaps more than any of the last 3 – 4 as a viewer. All sides have been competitive, even the Force, who were behind the 8 ball from the start, having to assemble a team in a month. If we have to have this again next year (with maybe our two local finalists going through to a championship against the best from NZ) then I reckon that would be a reason compromise in the circumstances (though I am not sure how the Rebels look next year….I think they have a few leaving).

        • Mica

          But, but modern 7s don’t need to be able to pilfer ball or slow a ruck down *rolls eyes*. Will Miller is the player that you’re thinking of. He’s always been good over the ball too.

    • Keith Butler

      So your very brief flirtation with the Rebs is past. Once a Red always a Red mate. Fully expect the Rebs to get hammered next week. Although the pundits were expecting the same a few games back against the Ponies and look what happened.

      • Brisneyland Local

        No I support both teams. It is like your children I dont have a favourite. ;-)
        Next week will be a tough game and I dont think either team is looking past it.

        • Mica

          So you love the older kid more then!! :)

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Mate I think whoever is organising that defence needs a pay rise. It is epic

      • Brisneyland Local

        They love the dirty shit now.

    • Tim

      It will be such a strange thing to see the Wallabies at the end of the year attack the breakdown. Rennie has his hands full trying to pick a team soon

      • Brisneyland Local

        But a great place to be in. I would rather struggle because I have too many options that too few.

  • UTG

    Reds way too good, a lot to be excited about going forward for QLD rugby and the Wallabies.

    That said, I feel it would be very SuperAU if the Rebels went ahead and knocked the Reds off next week.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks Reg for an excellent game summary.

    Great contest and deserved win to the Reds. Brumbies too many errors, and a few players off their game – especially Muirhead, Kuridrani, the starting front row.

    JOC managed the game beautifully. With his radar boot, he’s really looking to be extra special at No 10. Biggest difference in the game, I thought, was the pressure Wright and McReight put on the breakdown.

    Finally, congratulations to all Reds fans posting on this article. Appreciative of the win, respectful of the Brumbies and no gloating. Great to see.

    • Yowie

      The “gloating F-wit period” for a Reds fan is usually short. We’ve learned.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Nothing to gloat about.
      A. we are reds fans and know this can be short lived.
      B. realise that Ponies will be playing at home coming off a bye in 2 weeks time.
      C. A team that you generally give a touch up to, is going to come back at you twice as hard.

      • Custardtaht

        Twice as hard puts it as reds win 26-14..

        • Mica

          I like the way you think. Logic that can’t be argued with!! :)

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      With you on the 6 & 7. One of the key matchups that the Reds were well in front with. I’m liking those 2 and I think them with either Samu or another hard running 8 and you have a very good loose trio

      • Mica

        Wright has been a great choice for captain too. I was skeptical at first, but the guy is all class.

    • Cornchips

      Glad the gloating is tame here. It’s ridiculous on the roar

  • Hoss

    Morning y’all and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

    Great Saturday of rugby. ‘The Newcastle Nail Biter’ which wasn’t champagne rugby but great drama nonetheless. I then caught the second half of Island of Origin which was fast and frantic – that said I reckon the aussies are more brutal at ruck and maul and near on par for skill, maybe not execution though just yet, but not far off, followed by a Reds clinic v the Puppy Killers. Agree with a lot here – Samu’s acceleration and general physicality is something is special. Valentino was epic. But – Nella is something to behold. 140kgs, silky skills of a Larkham type player, sheer violent brute force, great engine and loves a run. That line he ran off the forward JOC2.0 pass had shades of Spanners to Gilbert v Soap Dodgers 2015 RWC. If it wasn’t for Sio’s past deeds you couldn’t look at him for gold this year he’s been ordinary and got a real touch up last night and does not much across the paddock. Slipper runs rings around him.

    Some of the reds attack was poetry in motion.
    I am on record as being a huge fan of the reds loosies and the depth of Australian forwards in general. I hope there’s a Bledisloe this year cause I reckon we are up for it, not necessarily win it, but innit up to our eyeballs.

    Come on Aussies.

    • Custardtaht

      If there is a Bledisoe, I’m calling it, the Wallabies win it this year.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Reg and happy Father’s Day to everyone out there with kids, acknowledged or not. Well that was even more convincing than I expected and for a couple of reasons I think. Firstly Kuridrani was well off his game and the Brumbies backline just didn’t function at all and secondly the Reds forwards, and loosies in particular won the battle up front. I was disappointed that the Brumbies didn’t do more with the ball as their rolling maul off the lineout was not working well.
    Good luck and all to the Rebels next week but I think we’ve just seen the pre final game. Of course with both the Reds and the Rebels able to change week by week anything could happen.
    I was impressed with McDermott again and I think White has a real battle on his hands. Far too many times White takes 3 or 4 steps before passing and this closes down the backline options. Yeah the opposition has to watch for the run or pass inside but the Reds handled these well and I’d certainly have McDermott starting for the Wallabies at the moment.
    The Reds defence was again outstanding and I hope whoever is organising that is already signed for next year.

  • Excellent game. Certainly Dave Rennie has some young guns he will plan to develop into World Class players. Bob Dwyer said we need five to win a World Cup. Rod MacQueen took those players nobody else wanted and won The World Cup, The Bledisloe and everything else on offer. Awesome!

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