Updated: Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:34 | By Agence France-Presse

Brumbies hold on to deny Reds in rugged derby

The ACT Brumbies hung on to defeat the Queensland Reds 23-20 and consolidate their lead in the Super Rugby Australian conference in Brisbane on Friday.

Brumbies hold on to deny Reds in rugged derby

Ben Mowen looks on during the captain's run at Twickenham Stadium, southwest of London, on November 1, 2013 - by Adrian Dennis

The Brumbies led 20-3 after 31 minutes but the Reds doggedly fought their way back in the second half, dominating territory and possession to get within three points with 11 minutes left.

But the Canberra-based outfit dug in and finished the Australian derby in Queensland's half as the clock wound down.

The victory lifted the Brumbies to a five-point break over the New South Wales Waratahs, who were to play Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

It was a bitter defeat for the Reds and they have now lost their last four games by five points or less.

The Reds will remain in fourth place in the Australian conference, irrespective of this weekend's results.

"We are extremely pleased with the win. It's a difficult place to come and win, the Reds are a good side anyway, but when they play at home they grow an extra leg," Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said.

"I thought the way we defended in the second half was outstanding in the end."

Stephen Larkham's Brumbies have now won eight of their 11 games in Brisbane and lead the Reds 18-5 overall with one draw.

"We needed to capitalise on things we did earlier in the match, we built some good pressure," Reds skipper James Horwill said.

"That's probably the third or fourth result that we've lost by three points so we need to be better."

The Brumbies started better and scored in the ninth minute when forward Scott Fardy scored after Quade Cooper lost the ball near his line.

The Reds' ill-discipline cost them points and Nic White kicked the Brumbies to a 10-point lead before winger Joe Tomane scored his first try of the season in the 31st minute off a long pass from White.

Queensland pulled back to trail 20-10 at halftime after flanker Beau Robinson scored off a driving maul.

The Reds had the Brumbies under enormous pressure and had a try by Will Genia disallowed on a TMO decision after an infringement and Rod Davies lost the ball in Tomane's tackle close to the Brumbies' try-line.

Cooper was also over the line but lost the ball, before Ed Quirk scored off a dominant scrum, diving on the ball at the feet of the back-pedalling Brumbies' pack.

Cooper kicked his 700th point in Super Rugby with a penalty to nudge the home side to 23-20, but that was as close as they got.

The Brumbies and Reds have a bye over the Easter weekend.

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