Reds 19-16 Brumbies: O'Connor last-gasp try clinches Super Rugby AU title

By Sports Desk May 08, 2021

James O'Connor wrested victory from the clutches of the Brumbies as his late try gave the Reds a stunning 19-16 win in the Super Rugby AU final.

The dramatic intervention came in the 85th minute, with the Brumbies down to 13 players and desperately defending their line after Darcy Swain and Henry Stowers were sin-binned.

Kalani Thomas picked the ball up from the back of a maul near the try-line and fed a pass to O'Connor, who skidded over between two Brumbies players to thrill the large crowd inside Suncorp Stadium.

It gave the Reds revenge for their loss to the Brumbies in the 2020 final, and saw the Reds follow up finishing top of the regular season this time around by landing the trophy they longed for, a decade on from their last Super Rugby title.

O'Connor scored all the Reds' points, with his four penalties keeping the home team in touch before he added the late try and capped it with an immaculate conversion, the last act of the match.

A third-minute kick from O'Connor had nudged the Reds ahead, but Tom Banks capitalised on great play from Noah Lolesio to nudge the Brumbies in front 10 minutes later.

Lolesio added the extras and two penalties before half-time, with O'Connor also booting a further penalty for the Reds, as the Brumbies led 13-6 at the break.

O'Connor missed a penalty early in the second half but then proved more precise from his next two shots at goal, either side of Rob Valetini being sin-binned in the 61st minute for a high tackle on Jock Campbell.

Lolesio gave the Brumbies a 16-12 advantage for the closing stages after the Reds were penalised for an offside, but despite Valetini returning to the field, the men from Canberra were soon in trouble.

Swain was yellow-carded in the 78th minute for collapsing a maul, and Stowers followed him off moments later.

The Reds were denied a try by the referee and match official after claiming they had rolled across the line, but they still had the energy and momentum, and fly-half O'Connor seized the moment when the ball reached him to the left of the posts, darting in to snatch glory.

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