The Queensland Reds have defied simultaneous red and yellow cards to beat the NSW Waratahs 32-20 and stay second on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder.
The Reds’ win came despite prop Dane Zander’s 31st-minute send off for a high tackle and captain Tate McDermott’s yellow card soon after for a deliberate knock down.
It left the home side two men short for 10 minutes and one for a further 10, before Zander was able to be replaced under reformed Super rules.
The improved Waratahs, missing a host of top-line talent and coach Darren Coleman due to injuries and COVID-19, defended stoutly but couldn’t capitalise on their advantage.
Scores were just 3-3 during that time either side of halftime the Reds’ scrum dominant behind Taniela Tupou and backrowers Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson also influential.
The pair both scored tries as the Reds inched forward, while McDermott also celebrated his return from an ankle injury with a twisting, spinning run to the line.
Jock Campbell spent time on the wing, at fullback and scrumhalf and capped his game with a match-sealing intercept try, while No.15 Jordan Petaia covered ground and kicked well in their 12th-straight home win against Australian opposition.
“We make it pretty tough for ourselves, but we’re always showing up for the mate next to us and are a resilient bunch,” McDermott said.
“It was a bit of a lung-blower, but it was good to be back.
“He’s (Petaia) been a terrific asset for us this year; where he’s come in terms of his kicking game is pretty impressive and we’ve got healthy competition there with Jock Campbell as well.”
Lalakai Foketi found space in the second half and Hugh Sinclair made back-to-back try-saving tackles in the first half.
But in wet conditions, the Waratahs, steered by rookie halves Tane Edmed and try-scorer Jack Grant, were outpointed by Reds’ No.10 James O’Connor and his fellow backs’ kicking games.
Grant sprinted onto a loose ball to score the game’s first try before the Reds’ scrum power ensured they surged ahead and controlled the game.
A Tom Horton try in the 77th minute won back the bonus point for the Waratahs.
It sets up a top-of-table clash for the Reds at home against the Brumbies next Saturday, while Wallabies captain Michael Hooper could make his comeback for NSW against the Fijian Drua.
“Our first 40 was pretty good, our second half we needed to apply the right pressure,” Waratahs captain David Porecki said.
“Being a man down, we didn’t do that well enough.
“I don’t even need to say it, everyone knows what Hoops brings to this squad.
“A guy like that, of that quality, into this side is massive – I’m excited for it.”