The Queensland Reds left it to the last 2 minutes to take the lead in their Round 2 Super Rugby AU match, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 23 – 21. Alex Mafi’s second try of the night levelled the scores, with James O’Connor’s conversion giving a narrow lead.
The Rebels had a chance to snatch it back in the last 30 seconds, but Matt Toomua‘s boot, accurate all night, pushed it wide.
The first half was a snooze-fest, with the only highlight Hunter Paisami‘s tackle on Matt Toomua. The Super Rugby AU referees continued their crack-down on off-side (and other infringements) and the only scoring was 4 penalty goals to the Rebels and 2 to the Reds. Half-time score Rebels 12 – Reds 6
Thankfully the 2nd half breathed some life into a moribund game. The Reds had been guilty of not respecting possession enough in the first half, and not building pressure to score points. The Melbourne Rebels , on the other hand, had barely been in the Reds half, but came away with points. The Reds eventually got their first try after Alex Mafi dived over from a rolling maul.
The Rebels hit back immediately with a massive 50 metre penalty goal from Reece Hodge, from out wide, after the Reds were penalized for off-side.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Feao Fotuaika was red-carded for dangerous entry to a ruck when attempting a clean-out on Richard Hardwick . Despite being down a man, the return of Taniela Tupou seemed to focus the Reds. Alex Mafi then looked to have scored a second try, after Hunter Paisami regathered a James O’Connor chip kick, and found Mafi in space on the wing, but Mafi lost the ball when tackled just short of the line.
Mafi got his double a few minutes later, breaking off the back of another rolling maul, and charging over for a try to level the scores. James O’Connor duly converted for the lead with 2 minutes to go.
The game had one more twist though, when Hunter Paisami was penalized for a high tackle, with 30 seconds to go. Matt Toomua was left with a 40 metre attempt at goal for the win. Although Toomua had been very accurate all night, kicking 6 from 7, he pushed the kick wide, and that was the game. Reds 23 – Rebels 21
The Game Changer
Feao Fotuaika’s Red card for the dangerous clean-out on Richard Hardwick . Seemed to snap the Reds out of their slumber. The card also saw the return of Taniela Tupou and the Reds scrum dominated in the last 20 minutes
The G&GR MOTM
Alex Mafi for his 2-tries, which should have been a hat-trick, but he lost the ball when tackled just short of the line
Matt Toomua kicked well off the tee, but we didn’t see much of the outside backs. Jordan Uelese injured an ankle.
Alex Mafi put his hand up. Good timing with Brandon Paenga-Amos, Folau Faingaa, and Jordan Uelese under injury clouds
Crowd: Not shown at the game – less than 10,000
Score & Scorers
Tries: Alex Mafi 2
Conversions: James O’Connor 2
Penalties: James O’Connor 3
Penalties: Matt Toomua 6, Reece Hodge
Cards & citings
Red card: Feao Fotuaika (dangerous clean-out)