The Queensland Reds have scored a 32-13 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in the final trial of pre-season in Brisbane on Tuesday.
The hosts capitalised on a dominant set piece to claim a four-try-to-one win ahead of Round 1 of the 2017 Vodafone Super Rugby season next week.
“It was a great last trial for both sides, I thought they were really hard at the ball for the first 50-60 minutes of the game,” Rebels head coach Tony McGahan said.
“The Reds obviously dominated the set piece, in particular around the scrum, which made it really difficult for us to have any attacking weapons or momentum in the second half.
“I think both sides got a lot out of it, no injuries and we march on to Round 1.”
An individual piece of brilliance from Sefa Naivalu opened the scoring for the Rebels when the winger beat four defenders down the right wing to race away and score under the posts.
The two sides traded penalties on the quarter-hour before the Reds levelled the scores when Quade Cooper found Karmichael Hunt with an inside ball, who offloaded to put Rod Simmons over the chalk.
The Reds took a 20-13 lead into the main break with the final play of the first-half when scrumhalf Nick Frisby took a quick tap and swung the ball left before winger Eto Nabuli found a gap to score.
The Rebels mounted pressure after the break in search of an equaliser but former skipper Scott Higginbotham foiled his old side when he forced a turnover on the try line.
Cooper and Hunt combined again on the counter attack before a strong run from Duncan Paia’aua and an offload to Chris Kuridrani extended the Reds advantage midway through the second-half.
The Reds broke a fourth-quarter arm wrestle with 10 minutes remaining when Kuridrani turned provider to send Higginbotham into the left corner to seal the 19-point victory in front of 1700 fans.
“Any time you lose and get dominated in any particular area is a concern but we’ll go back and get that fixed and come out ready to go,” McGahan said.
“It was a positive to get some more combinations, we had a lot of young blokes there at the end who got some good lessons and Super Rugby experience.”
Queensland Reds 32 (Simmons, Kuridrani, Nabuli, Higginbotham tries; Cooper 2, McIntyre cons; Cooper 2 pens) defeated Melbourne Rebels 13 (Naivalu try; Garden-Bachop con; Garden-Bachop 2 pens)