Canberra - Replacement Chris Feauai-Sautia scored a try three minutes from fulltime Saturday to clinch the Reds' 27-17 win over the Brumbies in Super Rugby.
The Reds scored first half tries through Lachie Turner and Aidan Toua to lead 17-9 at halftime but were under heavy defensive pressure throughout the second half which was only relieved by Feauai-Sautia's late try.
That try came from an uncharacteristic mistake by Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg who, on a night of mixed fortunes, scored all of his team's points but was also held up over the goalline and knocked the ball on in defense to allow the Reds' last score.
The Reds had clung to a 20-17 lead for 15 minutes against a Brumbies team which had enjoyed massive advantages of territory and possession throughout the second half.
Desperate to break out of their own territory, they had kicked for touch from a defensive penalty which swerved infield towards Mogg, standing a few meters from his own goalline. The missed touch seemed a critical error which would have given the Brumbies possession in the dying minutes of the match and the chance to achieve a score and a come-from-behind victory.
Instead, Mogg momentarily took his eye from the ball, knocked on and, before he had a chance to recover, was harried by Feauai-Sautia who gathered possession and dashed across the line to score. Quade Cooper added the conversion to finish with 12 points which embellished a sound tactical performance.
Mogg scored the Brumbies' only try in the 53rd minute to bring them within three points of the Reds at 20-17. The Reds were reduced to 14 men by the sin-binning of prop Greg Holmes and ACT elected to take a scrum from the ensuing penalty. They won a quick strike with a one-man advantage at the scrum, swung the ball wide and Mogg hit the line at pace from fullback to cut through a hole in the defense and score.
He missed the conversion and then, at greater cost to his team, missed a 71st minute penalty from close range which would have tied the scores.
The Reds had enjoyed a strong first half, scoring two opportunist tries. They first created an overlap for Turner in the 16th minute and then introduced a bright new talent when Toua scored five minutes later. Cooper threw an accurate, flat pass to the fullback who, after brushing off the first tackle, found himself in space and showed pace and strength to score.
Mogg kept his team in the match with penalties, landing four from six attempts before scoring the try that brought ACT into the match midway through the second half. Despite its advantages of possession and almost relentless pressure, the Brumbies weren't able to break down the Reds defense again.
"We're very pleased to get a win down here," Queensland captain James Horwill said. "It's a tough place to play and a tough place to win.
"We're pleased we stuck to the game plan. There were times in that second half we were our own worst enemies, giving away silly penalties and making mistakes at our end. But it was pleasing that we stuck to what we wanted to do and got the result we were looking for."
Tries: Lachie Turner, Aidan Toua, Feauai-Sautia
Conversions: Quade Cooper x 3
Penalties: Quade Cooper x 2
Tries: Jesse Mogg
Penalties: Jesse Mogg x 3, Nic White
15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Joe
Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6
Ben Mowen (captain), 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen
Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18
Ruaridh Murphy, 19 Leon Power, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffman,
22 Lionel Cronjé, 23 Tevita Kuridrani
15 Aidan Toua, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Dom
Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6
Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2
Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono
Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony
Fainga'a, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia