James O'Connor lead Queensland Reds to Super Rugby AU title

James O'Connor starred for Queensland Reds
James O'Connor starred for Queensland Reds

Reds 19-16 Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium

James O'Connor scored the decisive try in the added minutes as Queensland Reds came from behind to edge out Brumbies in the final at Suncorp Stadium to clinch the Super Rugby AU title.

O'Connor, who scored all 19 points in the game for Reds started the proceedings with a third minute penalty goal but Brumbies made a strong comeback when Noah Lolesio sent a perfect inside pass allowing Tom Banks to dot down in the 13th minute. Lolesio also followed with the conversion to make the scoreline 3-7.

Taniela Tupou looked threatening and came close to scoring but a desperate tackle from Nic White ensured the gap between the teams continued to remain at four until the 29th minute when O'Connor kicked his second successful three-pointer though his effort was negated by a penalty kick from Lolesio in the 32nd minute.

As the break was approaching, Reds conceded a rare scrum penalty and the Brumbies fly-half punished them with his second successful penalty kick as the teams went into the break with a 6-13 scoreline.

O'Connor had a chance to narrow down the gap but his kick hit the upright before he made amends with another shot in the 52nd minute to reduce the arrears to four points. Brumbies suffered a setback as they lost Rob Valetini to yellow card in the 61st minute for a high tackle and another breakdown infringement from the visitors saw O'Connor scoring his fourth penalty goal making it 12-13.

Just as Brumbies returned to full strength, Lolesio got them back into the lead with a 71st minute penalty goal and just when they thought they sealed the game they lost momentum with both Darcy Swain and Henry Stowers sin-binned in the 78th and 80th minutes respectively and the decisive moment came with a quick tap and a quick pass out wide allowed O'Connor to crash over before he also kicked the extras to complete a thrilling three-point win in the final.

Team line up:

Queensland Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.

Reserves: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Isaac Henry, 23 Filipo Daugunu.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Nick Frost, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.

Reserves: 16 Folau Fainga'a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Henry Stowers, 0 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Mack Hansen.