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Sport The greatest Aussie Super Rugby clash ever?

14:15  04 may  2021
14:15  04 may  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Tim Horan called it the best Super Rugby game in Australia in five years.

And Stan Sport colleague Sean Maloney labelled it "an instant classic."

Morgan Turinui stopped short of calling it the greatest Aussie Super Rugby clash ever but the Queensland Reds' "miracle comeback" against the Brumbies in round four has raised expectations sky high for Saturday's grand final rematch in Brisbane.

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https://twitter.com/MorganTurinui/status/1389332688776032256?s=20

To whet the appetite, Stan Sport has cut a "mini match" extended highlights package of the 40-38 thriller and made it available for free viewing on YouTube.

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The defending champion Brumbies shot out to a 17-0 lead in just 15 minutes on March 13 in Canberra, with Pete Samu and Folau Fainga'a crossing for early tries.

Reds winger Suliasi Vunivalu struck back with his first Super Rugby try but the Brumbies still led by 15 points with 20 minutes to go as Samu and Fainga'a completed their braces.

Queensland's Taniela Tupou and Harry Wilson continued the forwards' try-scoring spree before Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia combined for the coup de grâce.

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a football player on a field: Jordan Petaia of the Reds celebrates scoring at GIO Stadium. © Getty Jordan Petaia of the Reds celebrates scoring at GIO Stadium.

Petaia sling-shotted himself around the GIO Stadium goalposts to dot down a ballsy Paisami grubber kick and James O'Connor's conversion sealed the dramatic win with two minutes to play.

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"How brave that was from Hunter Paisami," Horan enthused.

The round eight clash between the sides, won 24-22 by the Reds, was arguably just as good and booked a home grand final for Brad Thorn's vibrant young team.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 32,000 tickets have been sold at Suncorp Stadium for what is the Reds' biggest occasion since claiming the 2011 title in an epic final against the Crusaders.

Robbie Fruean, Dan Carter are posing for a picture: Brad Thorn hits the ball up for the Crusaders against the Reds in the 2011 Super Rugby grand final. © Getty Brad Thorn hits the ball up for the Crusaders against the Reds in the 2011 Super Rugby grand final.

Despite the historical pedigree of the Brumbies, the Reds are warm favourites with the bookmakers.

"Happy for them to have the favourite tag," Brumbies halfback Nic White said.

"They have a view it's their year, it's their time, but we'll see on Saturday night.

"They're a really good team but so are we.

"We've had two ding-dongs this year already and we're looking forward to going up there and giving it a red hot crack, again."

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a group of people watching a football game: Fraser McReight of the Reds celebrates after winning the round eight Super Rugby AU match. © Getty Fraser McReight of the Reds celebrates after winning the round eight Super Rugby AU match.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was also keen to pile the pressure on Queensland - his home state.

"We're quite happy, Brumbies, backs to the wall, big crowd at Suncorp, just ourselves and our family to bounce off," McKellar said.

"We'll go out there and prove a few people wrong and continue our reign as Australia's leading team over a number of years.

Tevita Kuridrani et al. standing around a fire: The Brumbies celebrate after winning the 2020 Super Rugby AU final. © Getty The Brumbies celebrate after winning the 2020 Super Rugby AU final.

"That's the goal. They're at home, in front of a big crowd in Queensland and the expectation within their own group is that they win.

"Individuals have been talking about it.

"Harry (Wilson) and James (O'Connor) have spoken about it a number of times - that it's their turn and their time to take over the lead as Australia's leading side."

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