The Brumbies and the Chiefs produced impressive second-half fightbacks to begin the new Super Rugby season with respective victories over the Reds and the Blues.
The Reds went into half-time at GIO Stadium with a 17-7 lead after Bryce Hegarty converted Henry Speight’s try and then one of his own either side of a successful penalty attempt, overturning Irae Simone’s fourth-minute opener.
Tom Wright reduced the deficit seven minutes after the restart and the Brumbies pulled level when Folau Fainga’a went over off a driving maul.
Tom Banks then dotted down and debutant Noah Lolesio booted a penalty with five minutes remaining to send the hosts 10 points clear.
Harry Wilson crossed after good work from James O’Connor to set up a tense finale, but the Reds were forced to settle for a losing bonus point in a 27-24 defeat.
Super Rugby 2020 | Brumbies v Reds – Rd 1 Highlights
— Super Rugby/TRC (@SuperRugby) January 31, 2020
The Chiefs closed a 14-point deficit to run out 37-29 winners against the Blues at Eden Park.
Rieko Ioane’s first-half double helped the Blues take control in Auckland, but the Chiefs came roaring back after new boss Warren Gatland made four changes at the interval.
Samisoni Taukei’aho crossed for the second time and the visitors were level when Pita Gus Sowakula touched down in the 51st minute.
Karl Tu’inukuafe nudged the Blues back in front but Aidan Ross and Solomon Alaimalo put the Chiefs out of reach, with Aaron Cruden – returning to Super Rugby after a two-year stint at Montpellier – adding a drop goal for good measure.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) January 31, 2020
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