Canberra - The Brumbies claimed a come-from-behind win over their Reds in their Australian Super Rugby derby on Friday.
It was an enterprising 27-24 win for the hosts in Canberra, where temperatures nudged 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) and bushfires threatened the national capital's southern outskirts.
The Brumbies, playing without the experience of retired Wallabies David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano, Rory Arnold and Sam Carter this season, trailed 17-7 at half-time but scored 20 unanswered points before a late converted try set up a thrilling finish after the full-time siren.
The new-look Reds trailed to a fifth-minute try by Irae Simone before tries to former Brumbies winger Henry Speight and Bryce Hegarty gave the visitors their half-time advantage.
The Brumbies came out fired up for the second half and tries from Tom Wright, Folau Fainga'a and Tom Banks seemingly had secured victory before No 8 Harry Wilson crashed over near the posts for the Reds to set up an exciting finish.
"Some of the new guys stepped up on debut tonight and I'm proud of their effort and how they handled the pressure and they can only get better from here," Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa said.
The Brumbies were the most successful Australian side last year, forcing their way into the semi-finals before going down to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
In next weekend's action, the Brumbies host the Rebels (Friday, February 7 - 10:15 SA time), while the Reds tackle the Lions in Johannesburg (Saturday, February 8 - 15:05)
Tries: Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Folau Fainga'a, Tom Banks
Conversions: Noah Lolesio (2)
Tries: Henry Speight, Bryce Hegarty, Harry Wilson
Conversion: Bryce Hegarty (3)
15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 James Slipper, 19 Caderyn Neville, 20 Will Miller, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 Andy Muirhead
15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 James O’Connor, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Seru Uru, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Hunter Paisami