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Reds pipped by Crusaders in Super Rugby

NZN 11/03/2017 Vince Rugari

The Crusaders have scored their second last-minute comeback in a row, pipping the Queensland Reds at the death with a 22-20 victory in Saturday night's Super Rugby clash.

The Reds produced some of their best rugby in recent memory in an encouraging first half, but let it slip in horrendous fashion in the last 20 minutes to cop a heartbreaking defeat at Suncorp Stadium.

Mitchell Hunt split the posts from 35 metres out with just seconds left on the clock - after Samu Kerevi was penalised for sealing off the ball - putting the Crusaders in front for the first time in the match.

It comes after the Crusaders also snatched an incredible 30-27 comeback win last week over the Highlanders.

Remarkably, they did it with 14 men - following Jordan Taufua's yellow card for trying to punch Rob Simmons - and after losing All Blacks pair Israel Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu plus flanker Peter Samu to injury in the first half.

Dagg appeared to injure his right knee just before he spilled a Karmichael Hunt kick in the 11th minute and was immediately taken from the field, while Tamanivalu and Samu came off shortly afterwards.

They were already without Test props Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks, as well as injured five-eighth Richie Mo'unga.

But the Reds have only themselves to blame for a range of costly errors and some woeful game management at the death, leaving the crowd of 17,931 fans stunned.

They had raced to a 17-0 lead after an early penalty and back-to-back tries from Wallaby Samu Kerevi and Eto Nabuli.

Kerevi had a hand in both of them, busting through Jack Goodhue's tackle to touch down in the 12th minute, then spinning through another from Codie Taylor to set up Nabuli.

Four minutes later, the visitors replied when Digby Ioane's kick bounced over Nick Frisby and Kerevi and fell kindly for Mitchell Drummond.

The Crusaders were down 20-7 at halftime but a double from replacement Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall changed everything.

His first try gave them all the momentum in the 63rd minute, but his next - touching down at the base of the post after a scrum inside their attacking 22 with less than five minutes to go - set up another incredible finish.

Reds coach Nick Stiles admitted they let a certain win slip, falling to their sixth-straight defeat to the Crusaders.

"This was our best week of training and the first time we really stuck to our game plan. We saw that in patches," he said.

"But the way the referees referee, they're looking for a penalty in that situation when you're trying to burn the clock and we overplayed our hand."

Dagg, meanwhile, would be sent for scans on Monday but Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was hopeful his injury would only sideline him for a few weeks - not months.

"I could talk about individuals, but the team collectively, the belief to come from behind and show a lot of composure (was amazing)," he said.

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