The ACT Brumbies overcame a strange disallowed try to beat the Queensland Reds 23-17 in Canberra on Saturday and maintain their unbeaten Super Rugby Pacific record.
Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio was initially awarded a 75th minute try that would have iced the win before referee James Doleman took the five points off the scoreboard.
“I’ll just explain, it’s a really unfortunate situation with our comms,” Doleman told captains Ryan Lonergan and Tate McDermott.
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“Unfortunately the comms have gone out when there’s been a knock on by white (Brumbies), so we can’t then play the advantage out for the try. So we’re going to go back to the advantage for the penalty. The comms, I’m sorry guys, I couldn’t hear it.”
Boos rang out at GIO Stadium but they turned to cheer and song after the final whistle in a celebration of stalwart Nic White’s 100th game for the club.
Halfback White scored the opening try of a tight match that the now 3-0 Brumbies nonetheless always seemed likely to win.
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White snipes for first Brumbies try
The hosts led 13-0 at halftime before Reds stars James O’Connor and Jordan Petaia ignited a second half comeback.
O’Connor missed round one with injury and has come off the bench in the last two games behind teenage prospect Tom Lynagh.
The veteran laid on two tries for Petaia – one with his boot and one with his hands – earning praise from All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens.
Petaia soars for ‘brazen’ try
“Nothing like a bit of competition,” Mehrtens said on Nine and Stan Sport.
“He’s seen Tom Lynagh get some plaudits in the early stages of Super Rugby. The old bull wants to come back and establish his primacy.”
Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar said O’Connor had “a huge influence and made a real difference” for the now 1-2 Reds and expected him to start next weekend.
“I just wanted to go out there and play my game,” O’Connor said.
“I sort of fell away from that, the last part of last year, listening to too many people in the background. It’s good to just be fit.”
The Brumbies take on Moana Pasifika next week while the Reds meet a buoyant Fijian Drua on the back of their stunning upset of the defending champion Crusaders.
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