The St.George Queensland Reds have salvaged a bonus point in their 30-24 loss to the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Isaac Lucas and Harry Hoopert crossed for tries, as lock Angus Blyth made his first Super Rugby start in his fourth appearance for Queensland.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Good to come away with a bonus point. It’s pretty important at this time of year. Obviously, we came here for a win, we didn’t get that, but we prepare for our next game.
“A lot of positive stuff out there, as well as some improvements and learnings to take. One of our goals is to keep getting better and I feel like that’s happening,” said Thorn.
On a breezy night in Melbourne, Bryce Hegarty used the wind to his advantage and slotted an early penalty for a 3-nil lead.
A yellow card to Reds captain Samu Kerevi in the 15th minute opened the door for the Rebels, as Marike Koroibete exploited the overlap to go up 7-3 midway through the opening half.
Hegarty put the visitors within one point with his second penalty goal, before Melbourne pushed their lead out to eight courtesy of Anaru Rangioff off a rolling maul close to the line.
Following his successful campaign with the Junior Wallabies on the Gold Coast, Isaac Lucas came off the bench replacing an injured Hamish Stewart and made an immediate impact.
The Sunnybank speedster jinxed his way down the right flank and linked up with birthday boy Taniela Tupou, who produced a wonderful offload back to Lucas to see him score his maiden Super Rugby try. Hegarty missed the conversion to trail the Rebels 14-11 at the break.
With Scott Higginbotham handed a yellow card on the stroke of halftime, the Rebels again capitalised and made the Reds pay with two tries inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Harry Hoopert put the Reds back in the contest at 24-18 when he crashed over from a rolling maul for his second try of the season.
Reece Hodge and Hegarty traded penalties to keep it at a six-point ball-game with 10 minutes left to play.
Hodge kicked the Rebels out to a nine-point lead in the 75th penalty, before Hegarty slotted his fourth penalty of the night on full time to claim a bonus point.
The Reds return home next weekend when they host the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday May 18 at 7:45pm AEST. Tickets available viahttp://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
Rebels 30 (Tries: Koroibete, Rangi, Faulkner, Haylett-Petty. Conversions: Cooper 2. Penalties: Hodge 2) defeated St.George Queensland Reds 24 (Tries: Lucas, Hoopert. Conversions: Hegarty. Penalties: Hegarty 4) at AAMI Park, Melbourne on May 10, 2019.