Rugby: Brumbies still top after Reds draw

Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies attempts to break through the Reds defence.  Photo / Getty Images
Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies attempts to break through the Reds defence. Photo / Getty Images

The much-hyped match to decide Australia's dominant Super 15 team proved inconclusive after the Reds and Brumbies were deadlocked in a 19-19 draw.

The Reds crossed for three tries, while Christian Lealiifano scored a converted try and kicked four penalties to account for all of the Brumbies' points. It was enough for the Brumbies to retain their narrow lead in the Australian conference with 35 points, ahead of Queensland on 33.

The Reds wasted plenty of opportunities, repeatedly declining easy shots at penalty goals and narrowly missing three other tries.

Rod Davis dropped the ball over the line in the right corner in the first half and, in the second half, Anthony Faingaa was bundled into the left corner post as he crossed and prop Ben Daley barged over the line but the video referee couldn't confirm that he'd grounded the ball.

The Brumbies defended bravely on their own line, twice down to 14 men with players in the sin bin for professional fouls.

After trailing 13-7 at halftime, the Reds' constant pressure finally overcame the Brumbies' defence when 19-year-old flanker Liam Gill barged over to level the scores at 19-19.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie questioned why more Brumbies weren't yellow carded in the second half, and said he could barely believe a penalty awarded to the Brumbies from a kick restart that gifted the visitors three crucial points.

Reds skipper James Horwill didn't regret not taking easy penalty kicks when they were offered throughout the game, but said that the enterprising Queensland attack wasn't rewarded.

"We went out and tried to play. There was some cynical stuff, but that's the reality of it," he said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. We didn't execute well to get over the line."

Brumbies coach Jake White praised his team's character in defence.

"You're never happy when you draw a game, you always want to win," he said. "But considering we played 20 minutes with 14 men, and they had plenty of cracks at our line, to see a defensive effort like that you've got to be proud."

- AAP

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