The Queensland Reds have retained the Bob Templeton Cup after defeating the New South Wales Waratahs 20-16 on a rain-soaked night at Leichhardt Oval.
The gritty four-point victory in Sydney saw the visitors secure back-to-back away wins against their oldest rivals for the first time in nine years.
The nail-biting Super Ruby Pacific contest was extra special for scrumhalf Spencer Jeans, who became the 1367th player to represent Queensland after coming on in the 39th minute for his debut.
Winger Jordan Petaia earned the Reds their first five-pointer in the 20th minute with a spectacular high-flying catch, courtesy of a deft cross-field kick by flyhalf James O’Connor.
The scores were locked at 10-all at half-time, setting up a tense finish in which the lead changed three times in the second forty-minutes.
The men in maroon made more than twice as many tackles as their opponents, but only conceded one try as the Waratahs commanded field position in the Reds 22 for much of the match.
With try-saving tackles from Tate McDermott and Josh Flook, plus a game high 18 tackles from Fraser McReight, the brave Reds withstood a number of threats from the valiant Waratahs side in torrid conditions in Sydney.
A pick-and-go try from Ryan Smith regained the Queensland lead at 20-16 in the 69th minute, with the Reds repelling a final attacking raid in the closing minutes of the match to claim a gutsy four-point win.
Queensland are away in Round 3 against the Force, before returning home to host the Fijian Drua at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 12 March – tickets available via reds.rugby.
Queensland Reds 20
Tries: Petaia, Smith
Conversions: O’Connor 2
Penalties: O’Connor 2
New South Wales Waratahs 16
Penalties: Donaldson 2
Field goals: Donaldson
Queensland Reds Substitutions
39th minute: Jeans for McDermott
40th minute: Nasser for Mafi
50th minute: Hoopert for Zander
50th minute: Uru for Blyth
55th minute: Creighton for Petaia
60th minute: Smith for Scott-Young
62nd minute: Nonngorr for Fotuaika
Queensland Reds Matchday 23
1.Zander, 2. Mafi, 3. Fotuaika, 4. Blyth, 5. Salakaia-Loto, 6. Scott-Young, 7. McReight, 8. Wilson, 9. McDermott (cc), 10. O’Connor, 11. Daugunu, 12. Stewart, 13. Flook, 14. Petaia, 15. Campbell, 16. Nasser, 17. Hoopert, 18. Nonggorr, 19. Smith, 20. Uru, 21. Jeans, 22. Creighton, 23. Grealy.