The Brumbies got their redemption after holding off the Reds 16-12 in the rematch of the Super Rugby AU Final, but the match was marred with controversy in the dying stages.
Tonight’s match came down to a thrilling final three minutes after the Reds mounted a late fightback, courtesy of some ill-discipline from the Brumbies.
A yellow card to Darcy Swain following several infringements from the Brumbies resulted in a try to Josh Nasser at the midway point of the second half as the Reds turned a six-point deficit to just one.
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And while the Brumbies found a way to stretch their lead to four points with a penalty goal not long after, it all came down to a controversial final three minutes.
With just under two minutes remaining, a shocking pass at mid-field from Irae Simone went loose out the back, with Reds flanker Fraser McReight getting the jump on the ball with no one in front of him as he stared down an open paddock to the try-line.
McReight was closely trailed by Rod Iona, who was a step behind him in the foot chase before it appeared he tugged the jersey of his Reds opponent.
Iona eventually caught up to McReight in the foot chase and managed to ground the ball after it deflected off the post, saving what looked to be a golden opportunity for the Reds to score late.
All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens said the Reds might’ve been hard done by as he questioned why the referee didn’t give the foot chase a second check after the play had ended.
“He got held back … McReight got held back right at the start,” Mehrtens said in commentary for Stan Sport.
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“It may not have changed the result because the ball hit the post, but still, he might have had a little more time.
“I don’t understand why that is not looked at?”
Stan Sport commentator Sean Maloney added: “Hard done by Fraser McReight. He had all the pace.
“He had the jump there on Rod Iona. Definite grab.”
The Reds had the scrum five metres out with one minute remaining the clock, but their final play didn’t last long due to a knock-on.
The win for the Brumbies keeps them undefeated in the Super Rugby Pacific season through five games.
It was the first defeat for the Reds this season.
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