Another Reds-Brumbies classic: strap yourself in | Latest Rugby News

There’s a key moment in the rise of champion teams where they stop fumbling tight finishes and turn into the cool, last-gasp killers that the Queensland Reds have become.

Over the past two seasons, the Reds have won six games at the death and cranked up the team’s belief they can find a way out of any seemingly lost cause.

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That skill will be tested like never before in Canberra on Friday night in a riveting clash against the in-form ACT Brumbies. It is the must-watch match of the season in Super Rugby Pacific, at least on Australian soil.

There’s sting too. The Brumbies felt aggrieved when losing last year’s Super Rugby AU final on the bell after a rash of yellow cards. They still do.

“I just want to go out there and shut them up this weekend,” Brumbies lock Darcy Swain has said already this week about the Reds going overboard with celebrations.

Young Reds halfback Kalani Thomas shrugged off the verbal treatment he can expect from Wallaby Nic White under the luxuriant mo.

“I’ve heard lots of stories about him and the chat he throws on the field. If someone wants to talk, let them. I don’t even take it in,” the 19-year-old Thomas said.

good stuff. Both chirps are straight from an old Queensland-NSW handbook.

It’s rare to have two 4-0 teams pitted against each other and with such a recent and pulsating history.

This is the eighth clash between the sides in under two years. A late try or a penalty goal would have flipped all three results between the sides last year. They were that close.

Instead, the Reds went 3-0 in the head-to-heads. Last gasp killers, right.

The 40-38 upset of the Brumbies on their Canberra turf was a classic from 17-0 down with that final, crazy Hunter Paisami grubber and acrobatic Jordan Petaia take for the try.

The 24-22 nailbiter in Brisbane was more come-from-behind cool with a soaring Petaia grab out of the sky for a try along the way.

The epic 19-16 Super Rugby AU final in front of more than 40,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium was why the Queensland Rugby Union could post a $1.57 million operating profit for the year. It was the biggest since the start of professionalism.

That “stay in the fight” quality that coach Brad Thorn preaches all the time in his slow, husky and deliberate voice is now repeated by his players in interviews.

When he took on the Reds job in 2018, he was at the helm of a struggling club which had forgotten what a winning season looked like.

He gave them backbone with defence, as a starting point. Last weekend, they were trying to out-Fiji the Fijian Drua in the first half so confident were they in their sideline-to-sideline attack.

The late poise was there again at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday night. The Fijians were on a hot roll from 28-9 down to 28-all. The Reds had eight reserves on the field and injured Wallabies Liam Wright, LukhanSalakaia-Loto and Tate McDermott out of action.

They still found an unlikely hero in dreadlocked forward Seru Uru, who scored the winning try and stole a clutch lineout throw near his own line.

Uru is nowhere near a 50-cap Super Rugby player but he’s been playing beside them for two seasons now. Teamwork, well-rehearsed plays, trust and belief rubs off.

The win over the Drua came just two weeks after a win in the wet against the NSW Waratahs that should never have happened.

Young Waratah Will Harrison was still deluding himself a week later when saying “we probably should be 3-0″ when cursing missed chances against the Reds and Brumbies.

He completely failed to grasp that the biggest step of sides on the way back from heartache and failed campaigns isn’t winning big. It’s winning small.

Losing 27-20 to the clinical Brumbies IS the hallmark of sides like the Waratahs as they fight to rebuild composure in tight situations. Flanker Charlie Gamble would have passed the ball to Izaia Perese if he was playing in a more mature team. Chance gone.

READ MORE:

TOTW: Banks,Uru shine

FIVE THINGS: Fijiana make statement

CONCERNS?: Crusader’s loss raises questions

There might be no Super Rugby AU final this season now we have 12-team Super Rugby Pacific but it doesn’t mean Friday night won’t be played like one.

The return of Reds captain Liam Wright would be a big plus if his shoulder is finally right.

You’d have to say the Brumbies are favorites with nearly all their trumps fit and the excellent balance to their play, lineout drive tries one minute and quick-pass rushes to winger Tom Wright the next.

Recent history tells us there is no such thing as a favorite in these games just the guarantee of a tight thriller.

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