The St.George Queensland Reds have gone down 43-10 to the Brumbies in Round 7 of Vodafone Super Rugby in Canberra.
The score was locked at 10-10 at halftime, but the Brumbies jumped out of the gates in the second half, with two quick tries stunning the visitors.
The Brumbies scored a further three unanswered tries in the second half to run away with the contest.
Reds head coach Nick Stiles said the loss was hard to take, given the side’s composure in the first half.
“We’re gutted with the result. There were a confidence and composure within the group at a half time. We felt we had worked ourselves into a good position to go on and win the game, but those two soft tries really stunned us and put us on the back foot.
“It’s been a really tough number of weeks for the guys, with the travel and the losses. To their credit, they’ve continued to work hard, but the fact is we’re not winning games. We need to head back to Brisbane, regroup and refresh because no one is happy with the results.”
James Tuttle had an early opportunity to put the Reds ahead but his penalty attempt hit the left-hand upright.
Offered a penalty in a similar location the Reds kicked to the corner and Tuttle delivered a flat pass to a barnstorming Chris Kuridrani who crashed over for the first try.
Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera reduced the Reds lead to four points with a penalty goal in the 13th minute.
The Brumbies hit the front in the 27th when outside centre Tevita Kuridrani wrestled his way over the try-line, 10-7.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Rory Arnold was penalised for a high tackle but Tuttle’s penalty attempt sailed wide.
Minutes later, the scrumhalf nailed another attempt from further out to level the scores at 10-all after the half-time hooter had sounded.
Immediately after the break, the Brumbies crossed for two tries through Robbie Able and Aidan Toua, handing the home side a 14-point lead.
Possession eluded the Reds for much of the second half and the Brumbies pressured the visitors into some costly mistakes.
The Brumbies had the Reds scrum back peddling and replacement flanker Jarrad Butler fell over the try line, 31-10.
With seven minutes remaining, James Dargaville crossed for a try before Chris Alcock put the nail in the coffin on the cusp of full time.
The match saw several players reach milestones, as Lachlan Maranta made his run-on debut at fullback two weeks after making his Super Rugby debut in Buenos Aires.
Alex Mafi, Hamish Stewart and Moses Sorovi all made their Super Rugby and Queensland debuts from the bench.
The Reds return home to Brisbane to host the Southern Kings for the first time at Suncorp Stadium on Easter Saturday at 3:05 pm.
St.George Queensland Reds 10 (Chris Kuridrani try; James Tuttle con; Tuttle pen goal) defeated by Brumbies 43 (Tevita Kuridrani, Robbie Abel, Aidan Toua, Jarrad Butler, James Dargaville, Chris Alcock tries; Wharenui Hawera 5 cons; Hawera 1 pen goals) at Canberra Stadium on Saturday 8 April, 2017.