The Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels played out an 18-all draw on Friday in Round 2 of Super Rugby AU, with 90-minutes of play unable to split either side at Brookvale Oval.
In wet conditions, Queensland trailed by 10-points with six minutes to play, before an incredible runaway try to Alex Mafi and a James O’Connor conversion locked the scores to send the game to Super Time. Both sides had attacking opportunities in the following ten minutes, but neither were able to break the stalemate in what was the first instalment of Super Time in the new competition.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We didn’t get the result in the end, but it’s two points we get so we’ll take it.
“It was a bit of a weird one really, sort of half-happy, half not.
“It’s a new thing, they went for like a golden point scenario and they slugged it out for 90-minutes, credit to both teams.
“The thing that I’m proud about, which started three years ago, is the fight that’s in the team.
“We don’t go away, but we just didn’t quite get there tonight,” said Thorn.
After dominating possession early, the Rebels claimed the first lead of the match through a Matt Toomua penalty goal in the sixth minute of play. The stubborn Queensland defence on their own line kept the home side from extending their lead, as both teams struggled to hold onto the ball in greasy conditions.
Hamish Stewart was shown a yellow card after the siren for a professional foul, with Toomua taking full advantage of the ensuing penalty goal to give the Rebels a 6-nil advantage at the half-time break.
Despite Stewart’s absence, it was Queensland who broke through for the first try of the match early in the second stanza, Daugunu stepping his way over courtesy of an O’Connor cut out pass. O’Connor missed the tough conversion attempt from the left-hand sideline, the Reds trailing narrowly at 6-5 in the 44th minute.
O’Connor kicked the Reds into an 8-6 lead in the 51st minute, the flyhalf slotting a 40-metre penalty goal off the back of a dominant Queensland scrum.
The Rebels reclaimed an 11-8 lead minutes later with a Reece Hodge five-pointer, before Hunter Paisami was yellow carded for a high tackle in the 55th minute.
A Billy Meakes intercept try stretched the Rebels lead to 18-8 with 12 minutes to play, but Queensland responded with another O’Connor penalty goal to cut the deficit to a converted try with five minutes remaining at 18-11.
With the final seconds of the match ticking down, O’Connor launched a final attacking assault from well within the Queensland half, the flyhalf putting Chris Feauai-Sautia through a gap before the outside back charged his way into the Rebels red zone and found Mafi with a neat pop pass from the ground. The hooker dashed the final 22-metres to score Queensland’s second try, before O’Connor calmly stepped up to slot the conversion and send the game into Super Time at 18-all.
Another powerful Queensland scrum gave Bryce Hegarty the chance to seal the game with a 50-metre penalty goal at the end of the first period of extra time, but the fullback was unable to make the most of the tough chance.
Neither team was able to break the deadlock in the final five minutes of play, the sides splitting the points with an 18-all draw.
The Reds return to Suncorp Stadium next round to take on the Western Force on Friday 17 July.
Queensland Reds 18 (Tries: Daugunu, Mafi, Conversions: O’Connor, Penalties: O’Connor 2) drew Melbourne Rebels 18 (Tries: Hodge, Meakes, Conversions: Toomua, Penalties: Toomua 2) at Brookvale Oval, Sydney on 10 July, 2020.