The Brumbies won the Super Rugby AU title on Saturday 19 September with a 28-23 win over the Reds.
Despite being the dominant force throughout the Super Rugby AU competition, the Brumbies were made to work very hard to lift the trophy, in the end.
Brumbies start Super Rugby AU final strong
The Brumbies were unbeaten in their first five matches of the competition and also started the final very strong.
The Canberra-based outfit were made to sweat by a late surge from the Reds.
Young Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio kicked well and put the Brumbies in the lead after a Reds lineout malfunction led to a sloppy infringement at the breakdown and a straight-forward shot at goal.
The Reds restored parity through the boot of James O’Çonnor but the Brumbies all powerful maul would soon bring itself to bear on a helpless defence.
Folau Fainga’a secured the ball at the tail of a rumbling maul to score the Brumbies first try.
The second try showed that the Reds backline also had little answer to the Brumbies direct play with Lolesio setting Muirhead in despite the attention of two defenders.
It was difficult to see how the Reds could get back into the game but Jordan Petaia created a linebreak out of nothing before offloading to Harry Wilson and O’Connor added the two to move the Queenslanders within one score.
Petaia injured himself during the game-changing play though and hobbled to the sidelines before being replaced at half time. The Brumbies led 15-13 going into the break after another O’Connor penalty goal.
Reds trailing by two at the break
Tom Banks crossed the line shortly after half time to open up the Brumbies lead yet again. Lolesio slotted the conversion and shortly afterwards knocked over a drop-goal to make it 25-13.
Reds winger Filipo Daugunu was sent to the sin bin after attempting a dangerous tackle, leaving the Reds with a mountain to climb.
Lolesio then slotted another penalty to make it 28-13 with 25 minutes to play.
O’Çonnor did close the gap with another penalty but the Reds were then given a controversial lifeline.
A lengthy TMO-review was required before Angus Blyth was awarded the Reds second try making the match interesting in the final quarter.
It was the Brumbies’ third Super Rugby title — albeit a domestic version after the coronavirus pandemic halted international rugby — following their triumphs in 2001 and 2004.