BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — James O’Connor scored five minutes into injury-time to lift the Queensland Reds to a 19-16 victory over the short-handed ACT Brumbies in a thrilling Super Rugby Australia final on Saturday.
O’Connor continued his resurgence from troubled teenage tyro to an established leader as he scored all of the Reds’ 19 points including a try five minutes after the full-time siren to complete a remarkable comeback for the hosts in front of 42,000 fans at Brisbane.
The Brumbies had Darcy Swain and Luke Reimer sin-binned late in the match as they desperately tried to hold on to its 16-12 lead.
Despite the two-man disadvantage the Brumbies withstood two scrums near their goal line before the Reds eventually shifted the ball wide to O’Connor who cut through the defensive line to seal the win and the Reds first title in 10 years.
“I’m pretty blown away, it’s a surreal moment,” O’Connor said. “We are our worst enemies at times but when the game’s on the line (we find a way).“
The Brumbies had the better of possession and territory in the first half but only had a Tom Banks try to show for it.
Both teams traded penalties throughout the second half before the final chaotic ten minutes saw the short-handed Brumbies camped on their goalline trying to deny the Reds a match winning try.
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