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Last-gasp Cooper seals Reds win

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper struck an 80th-minute penalty to earn the Reds a dramatic 17-16 victory over the Crusaders in front of the largest crowd in Australian Super Rugby history at Suncorp Stadium.

In front of an audience of 48,301, which broke the previous mark by more than 6000, the Crusaders led 10-7 at half-time and looked to be home and dry thanks to two Dan Carter penalties in the final 11 minutes.

But the Reds continued fighting until the dying minutes and, when Crusaders captain Richie McCaw conceded a penalty, Cooper stepped up to convert his first of the day, after missing three in the first half. The win extended the Reds' winning streak at Suncorp to 12 games and kept them atop the Super Rugby table.

The Crusaders had the first points from Carter's boot and looked certain to add to their score 10 minutes in when Tom Marshall went bursting through, but the Reds makeshift final line of defence stopped him with Will Genia pulling off a try-saving tackle and Cooper forcing the turnover by pinning the ball at the breakdown.

After struggling terribly with their lineout through the first quarter of the match, the Reds' first points came from the throw, as James Horwill collected a long throw from Saia Faingaa and offloaded to Genia, whose flat pass put Ben Tapuai in untouched.

The visitors added to their tally when Carter made a crafty strip on Anthony Faingaa and was able to dish the ball wide for Robbie Freuean, who galloped downfield, claiming the try-assist after linking up with supporting winger Brent Ward.

Trailing 10-7 at the break, the Reds made the start they needed in the second half, as Genia spotted a gap in the Crusaders' line and went scooting through, running away from the cover defence to touch down in the right-hand corner.

Carter brought the visitors to within one point with 11 minutes to play, knocking over his kick from straight in front and ensuring an tense finish for the record crowd.

Increasingly, it was the Crusaders on the attack as time ran out, and with the Queensland side out on their feet, Carter put his side in front with his second penalty conversion in a few minutes.

But the Reds found a second wind and, after moving into field position, they showed patience, completing multiple phases before McCaw was deemed to have infringed.

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