Tim Horan called him the best Super Rugby game in Australia in five years.
And his Stan Sport colleague Sean Maloney called it an “instant classic.”
Morgan Turinui paused before calling it the greatest Australian Super Rugby clash of all time, but the Queensland Reds’ ‘miracle comeback’ to the Brumbies in the fourth round raised expectations for the big game Saturday’s revenge in Brisbane.
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To whet an appetite, Stan Sport cut a bundle of extended “mini-match” highlights from the 40-38 thriller and made it available for free viewing on YouTube.
Defending champion Brumbies took a 17-0 lead in just 15 minutes on March 13 in Canberra, with Pete Samu and Folau Fainga’a crossing for the opening tries.
Reds winger Suliasi Vunivalu hit back with his first Super Rugby try, but the Brumbies were still leading by 15 points with 20 minutes remaining as Samu and Fainga’a completed their accolades.
Queensland’s Taniela Tupou and Harry Wilson continued the attacking frenzy before Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia combined for the knockout.
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Petaia pulled himself around the GIO stadium goal posts to score a Paisami grubber kick and James O’Connor’s conversion sealed the spectacular victory with two minutes left.
“How brave of Hunter Paisami,” Horan enthused.
The eighth round clash between the teams, won 24-22 by the Reds, was arguably just as good and reserved a grand home final for the dynamic young side of Brad Thorn.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 32,000 tickets were sold at Suncorp Stadium in what is the biggest opportunity for the Reds since winning the 2011 title in an epic final against the Crusaders.
Despite the historic brumbie pedigree, the Reds are bookmaker favorites.
“Glad for you to have the favorite tag,” said Brumbies half-back Nic White.
“They have a view that it’s their year, it’s their time, but we’ll see Saturday night.
“It’s a very good team, but so are we.
“We’ve already had two ding-dongs this year and can’t wait to go and give it a boost, once again.”
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was also keen to put pressure on Queensland – his home state.
“We’re very happy, the brumbies, back to the wall, big crowd at Suncorp, just ourselves and our family to bounce back,” McKellar said.
“We will go out there and prove a few people wrong and continue our reign as Australia’s management team for several years.
“That’s the goal. They’re at home, in front of a big crowd in Queensland and the expectation within their own group is that they win.”
“People have talked about it.
“Harry (Wilson) and James (O’Connor) have spoken about this on several occasions – that it is their turn and their time to take the lead as the Australian leader.”
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