Queensland’s unblemished start to Super Rugby AU has continued after holding out the Western Force 31-24 in a thriller at Suncorp Stadium. A drop goal in the 78th minute by James O’Connor gave the Reds some breathing space, with the Force unable to find a converted try to take the match into super time in Brisbane.

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Force playmaker Jono Lance lamented two missed conversions – one charged down by Reds winger Filipo Daugunu and the other hitting the post which would have kept the pressure on.

The win meant that for the first time since 2013 the Reds have been unbeaten for four successive games. They beat the Bulls before the regular competition was shut down in March before two wins plus last weekend’s draw with Melbourne since the restart.

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How Reds boss Brad Thorn set the scene before the match-up versus the Force

The Force again got off to a flying start, repeating their effort against the Waratahs last week by rushing to a 14-0 lead. Young full-back Jack McGregor was first across before another former Queensland schoolboy Byron Ralston crossed for the first of two tries for the night.

But three tries within 20 minutes got the home side back in the fight, with the Force losing skipper Ian Prior to a shoulder stinger. O’Connor found Reds hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa was lurking out wide to get their score ticking over.

Full-back Jock Campbell made the most of a Hunter Paisami break, and then prop Taniela Tupou rumbled over from a lineout after an O’Connor 50-22 kick. That gave Queensland a 21-14 lead, an advantage they looked like they would take into half-time before Ralston intercepted and ran 80 metres to touch down.

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Daugunu crossed five minutes into the second half but Paisami was then yellow-carded for a tip tackle, leaving his team a man down. The Force took advantage with Andrew Ready crossing in the 69th minute to set up a nail-biting finish, but they again fell short.

QUEENSLAND REDS 31 (Campbell, Daugunu, Paenga-Amosa, Tupou tries; O’Connor 4 cons drop goal)
WESTERN FORCE 24 (Ralston 2, McGregor, Ready tries; Prior 2 cons)

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