Queensland’s Super 14 rugby revival continued as Australia full-back Chris Latham scored a last gasp try to help secure a dramatic 24-24 draw with the Lions in Johannesburg.
The Reds scored three tries to two and led 10-6 after a long-distance try to winger Peter Hynes in the 48th minute, but made too many errors and didn’t go on with the job.
Tries to No.8 Joe van Niekerk and winger Rayno Benjamin propelled the Lions to a 21-10 lead.
Foxsport reports that Queensland got to within four points when winger Clinton Schifcofske converted a try to prop Rodney Blake, set up by a break from another front row substitute Stephen Moore.
Lions five-eight Jaco van Schalkwyk nudged the home team three points further ahead with a monstrous drop goal from near halfway.
The Reds looked as if they had blown their last chance four minutes from full-time, when five-eight Quade Cooper knocked on close to the Lions’ line.
However, the Reds showed sufficient composure in the dying moments to create a chance for a rampaging Latham and Schifcofske calmly potted the match-tying conversion.
Captain and half-back Sam Cordingley said it wasn’t a great performance from his side, who squandered valuable possession and promising positions by committing numerous handling errors and turnovers.
“We turned over far too much ball, when we built pressure we looked good,” Cordingley told Fox Sports.
“The ball retention was a bit of an issue today and it’s something that we’ll look to improve on next week.”
The result left Queensland in ninth spot, six points outside the top four heading into next week’s clash with the unbeaten Sharks in Durban.
A fifth minute penalty to half-back Jano Vermaak gave the Lions a 3-0 lead in a frantic first half, which produced 90 tackles and plenty of ball movement.
While the Lions started well, the Reds failed to take a couple of good opportunities during a first half in which they committed 11 handling errors.
The most costly came in the 12th minute when Cooper dropped the ball over the Lions’ line under pressure from centre Walter Venter.
Vermaak doubled the Lions’ lead with a 44th minute penalty after Reds prop Dayna Edwards was pinged for a scrum infringement.
Within two minutes, Schifcofske posted the Reds’ first points of the day from a penalty.
He pushed the Reds ahead 10-6 when he converted a try to Hynes, who beat a defender and sprinted 70 metres.
Vermaak slashed the deficit to one point and pushed the Lions to a 16-10 lead after converting a try to van Niekerk.
Benjamin’s try just after the hour blew the Lions’ lead to 11, but the Reds finally managed to convert possession into tries in the final quarter and got good impact from their bench players.Tweet