The Reds recorded a vital 36-14 win over the Plus500 Brumbies in energy sapping conditions at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to leave the Australian Conference wide-open after six rounds.
Tries from Scott Higginbotham, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott, Bryce Hegarty and Brandon Paenga-Amosa, proved too much for the visitors who struggled in the oppressive heat and humidity of a sweltering hot Brisbane afternoon, despite scores from Henry Speight and Jahrome Brown.
The Brumbies dominated the opening quarter of an hour, putting in a sensational 27-phase attack that, ultimately, came to nothing but signified the willingness of the visitors to keep the ball in hand.
But it was the Reds that struck first on their initial foray into the Brumbies twenty-two as Higginbotham drove over from close range, Hegarty converting.
Shortly before that try, the visitors were forced into removing Rory Arnold from the fray due to injury, replaced by Blake Enever, however the Brumbies were struggling at line-out time, turning over good ball in excellent field position which was stymying their forward momentum.
A Hegarty penalty increased the Reds lead to ten on the half-hour, with Brumbies prop James Slipper subsequently called from the field for an HIA, after receiving a strike to the head whilst contesting a ruck in the lead-up to the decision.
With the sun beating down, and the shirts saturated with sweat, both teams were happy to hear the half-time whistle with the Reds slightly sprightlier leading the fixture 10-0 at the interval.
The Brumbies made a tremendous start to the second half with a try within seventy seconds.
After setting it up through the forwards, the ball was spun wide where Slipper, on the floor, flipped a pass to Tom Banks who sent Speight away, crashing through the tackle to score in the corner.
Christian Lealiifano landed a brilliant touchline conversion. There was an almost immediate response from the home side though as Samu Kerevi broke down the left flank to free Feauai-Sautia who cantered away, striding behind the posts to make Hegarty’s conversion a mere formality.
And, moments later, the Reds extended their lead. A loose ball in attack by the Brumbies was scooped up by the Reds and McDermott, the Queensland scrum-half, went fully sixty metres to touch down in the corner and increase the lead to seventeen-points.
There was a late Brumbies flurry, as replacement Brown scored probably the quickest try in Super Rugby history by a substitute, walking onto the field to pounce on a loose Reds pass and dive over within ten seconds of coming on. Lealiifano converted to offer a glimmer of hope.
But that was snuffed out as Reds winger Filipo Daugunu made the most of spilt Brumbies possession to burst away and send the try-scoring pass to Hegarty who gleefully sealed the win. A score after the siren from replacement hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa put the cherry on the cake for the hosts.
Reds (10) 36 (T: Higginbotham, Feauai-Sautia, McDermott, Hegarty, Paenga-Amosa, C: Hegarty (4), P: Hegarty) Plus500 Brumbies (0) 14 (T: Speight, Brown, C: Lealiifano (2))
1. James SLIPPER (17. Scott SIO 31’-40’, 52’), 2. Folau FAINGA’A (16. Josh MANN-REA 52’), 3. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN (18. Tom ROSS 58’), 4. Rory ARNOLD (19. Blake ENEVER 13’), 5. Sam CARTER, 6. Pete SAMU (20. Murray DOUGLAS 52’), 7. Tom CUSACK (21. Jahrome BROWN 71’), 8. Lachlan MCCAFFREY, 9. Joe POWELL (22. Matt LUCAS 61’), 10. Christian LEALIIFANO, 11. Lausii TALIAULI (23. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE 52’), 12. Irae SIMONE, 13. Tevita KURIDRANI, 14. Henry SPEIGHT, 15. Tom BANKS