The St.George Queensland Reds have secured their fifth win of the season with a gritty 32-26 win over the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland ran in three tries-to-two, with Bryce Hegarty, Taniela Tupou and Sefa Naivalu crossing for tries, as Hegarty bagged 17 points of his own.
The Reds trailed 13-8 at the break, before three second half tries and some resolute defence delivered the home side back-to-back wins for the second time this season.
The win was extra special for winger Jock Campbell, who made his starting debut in the six-point victory.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It wasn’t what I’d call attractive rugby for fans. A frustrating game and I was just disappointed.
“I felt like Sunwolves had come out to win so we had to respect that. You take those points. We won ugly, and it’s better than losing ugly,” said Thorn.
Hayden Parker opened the scoring with pair of penalty goals in the early stages to give the visitors a 6-nil lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
Queensland soon replied with a penalty of their own through Bryce Hegarty to lessen the deficit to three in the 12th minute.
The Reds quickly capitalised with their first five-pointer of the night after Scott Higginbotham snatched an intercept close to his own 22-metre line, before the number-eight popped the ball to a supporting Hegarty who streaked away to score in the right-hand corner. Hegarty missed the tough conversion to take the lead at 8-6.
The Sunwolves were next to cross when Gerhard van den Heever pounced on a grubber to score in the 19th minute. Parker added the extras to regain a five-point advantage for the visitors.
Semisi Masirewa was shown a yellow-card in the 35th minute, but Queensland were unable to exploit their one-man advantage in the final minutes of the first half, as the Sunwolves headed to the sheds leading 13-8 at the break.
Queensland quickly made the most of the Masirewa’s absence early in the second half when a Samu Kerevi break sent the Reds down field, before Taniela Tupou crashed his way over the defence to score the third try of the game. Hegarty converted to give Queensland a two-point lead after 43 minutes.
After a third Parker penalty goal, Masirewa was yellow-carded for the second time in the 49th minute for a high tackle that resulted in a red card, giving Queensland a one-player advantage for the remainder of the contest.
The Reds quickly capitalised on the newly-created overlap with a try through Sefa Naivalu, after Hegarty found the Fijian flyer with a pin point cross field kick in the 50th minute. Hegarty again converted, before he further stretched the Queensland lead to 25-16 with a penalty goal in the 58th minute.
Parker added a fourth penalty for the Sunwolves in the 60th minute to cut the Reds’ lead to six, before ven den Heever claimed his second try after the winger swooped on a loose Hamish Stewart pass to score in the 66th minute. Parker converted as the Sunwolves gained a one-point lead with 14 minutes remaining.
Yu Tumara was caught offside and was given 10 in the bin in the 70th minute to reduce the visitors to 13-men, and Queensland again capitalised to reclaim their lead through Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who dug his way over the line for his fifth try of the season. Hegarty added his third conversion to make the score 32-26 going into the final eight minutes.
Harry Hockings was red-carded in the 75th minute, while Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco was also yellow-carded in the same incident to reduce the Sunwolves to 12 players and the Reds to 14 in the dying stages of the match.
Despite some gallant attack from the Sunwolves, the Reds held on in the final minutes to secure their second win over the Japanese side this season.
Queensland will travel south of the border next round to face the Melbourne Rebels before they host Waratahs in Round 14 on May 18 at Suncorp Stadium. Tickets available via http://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
St.George Queensland Reds 32 (Tries: Hegarty, Tupou, Naivalu, Paenga-Amosa, Goals: Hegarty 2, Penalties: Hegarty 2) defeated Sunwolves 26 (Tries: van den Heever 2, Goals: Parker 2, Penalties: Parker 4) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on May 3 2019.