The ACT Brumbies decimated the Queensland Reds to earn their first victory in Brisbane in eight years despite the best efforts of Tate McDermott and Nic White.
McDermott, who was curiously left out of Eddie Jones’ Wallabies squad this week, blasted 55 yards for a fantastic individual try as the Reds took the lead early at Lang Park 14-7.
But, the Brumbies kept fighting and eventually ran away with a 52-24 victory to improve to a 6-1 win-loss record and move into second place on the live Super Rugby Pacific chart.
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The Reds dropped to 2-5 and will probably not make the top eight by the conclusion of the round, adding more pressure to off-contract coach Brad Thorn, who expressed his disappointment with the outcome to Stan Sport.
Queensland Reds 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season
The Reds’ winning record against Australian opponents at Lang Park had spanned 14 games, and Angus Blyth’s early dismissal added insult to injury.
Len Ikitau scored for a score of 28-17 early in the second half after veteran halfback White’s kick in behind the Reds found plenty of space.
After the in-form winger Jordan Petaia’s ferocious run and regathered grubber earned a penalty and resulted in Brumbies fullback Tom Wright receiving a yellow card, the Reds led 14-7 and 17-4.
Yet after the halftime siren, Lachlan Lonergan scored from a superb rolling maul, giving the visitors the next touchdown after Dane Zander gave away another penalty in the ruck.
With an effective rolling maul try to Matt Faessler off a lineout, Queensland got off to a strong start by giving the Brumbies a taste of their own medicine.
That was undone by Blyth’s moment of insanity, though, as the fit-again lock’s first start of the season lasted only eight minutes after a charge down on Corey Toole went tragically wrong.
When the second rower tucked his head and hit the small winger on the chin, Toole wobbled twice as he tried to stand up and was promptly diagnosed with concussion.
Upon assessment, the incident was escalated to a red, as Blyth’s ban might prevent him from playing the remainder of the regular season.
When Wright was able to cross the goal line thanks to Noah Lolesio’s deft bounce assist, the Reds were down a player at the time.
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After McDermott beat five opponents, including the final one with a cheeky dummy and huge grin, on the route to the goal in the 23rd minute, the Reds were back in the lead.
The advantage, though, gradually vanished as the Brumbies put on five tries in the second half and the Reds lost their way after the break.