Despite scoring three tries to two, the HSBC Waratahs have gone down 26-24 to the Queensland Reds in their season-opening trial match at Oakes Oval in Lismore on Saturday night.

The Reds scored 10 points in the final four minutes to claim the victory against a Tahs side which finished the match with a host of rookies and club players on the field.

NSW signalled their intentions early on by declining a number of opportunities to kick penalty goals, however it was the Reds who drew first blood via a Jack Kennedy try with the prop crashing over on quarter-time.

A scuffle in the 28th minute saw Saia Faingaa shown a yellow card, and the Tahs again declined to go for points from the ensuing penalty. The decision paid off with Josh Holmes going over after some solid phase ball.

Ben Lucas piloted a penalty for the Reds early in the second half, and not long after young flyer Alex Rokobaro backed his ability and almost scored after a kick and chase down the left flank.

In the 57th minute the Tahs finally went for a penalty which Brendan McKibbin converted to tie the game at 10-all. The deadlock didn’t last long however with Tim Walsh kicking a three-pointer for the Reds.

On the stroke of three-quarter time NSW took the lead after Paddy Ryan went through a gap and linked with McKibbin who crossed under the posts against his former side.

Ten minutes into the final quarter, Walsh brought the margin back to one-point with a penalty, however in the 72nd minute Dylan Sigg crashed over after the NSW forwards successfully drove the ball to the line from a lineout. McKibbin converted to open an eight-point advantage with seven minutes to play.

Queensland never gave up however, and Richard Kingi scored out wide with four minutes left on the clock. Walsh’s conversion brought the margin back to one as the game wound down.

The Reds then received a penalty 38m out with 90 seconds left on the clock which Walsh put over to give the visitors a two-point win.

The HSBC Waratahs return to Sydney on Sunday ahead of next Saturday’s trial against the Fiji Warriors at Wade Park in Orange.

Queensland Reds 24 (Jack Kennedy, Richard Kingi tries; Tim Walsh 3 pens, con, Ben Lucas con, pen) d HSBC Waratahs 24 (Josh Holmes, Brendan McKibbin, Dylan Sigg tries; Brendan McKibbin 2 cons, pen, Daniel Halangahu con) at Oakes Oval, Lismore. Yellow Card: Saia Faingaa (Queensland Reds; 28th). 1/4: Queensland 7-0; 1/2: 7-all; 3/4 HSBC Waratahs 17-13. Referee: Ian Smith. Crowd: 3628.

By the clock
4th – Anthony Faingaa missed penalty attempt
20th – Jack Kennedy try; Ben Lucas conversion. Queensland 7-0
28th – Saia Faingaa yellow card
29th – Josh Holmes try; Daniel Halangahu conversion. 7-all
37th – Richard Kingi missed penalty attempt
44th – Ben Lucas penalty goal. Queensland 10-7
57th – Brendan McKibbin penalty goal. 10-all
59th – Tim Walsh penalty goal. Queensland 13-10.
60th – Brendan McKibbin try; Brendan McKibbin conversion. HSBC Waratahs 17-13.
70th – Tim Walsh penalty goal. HSBC Waratahs 17-16
72nd – Dylan Sigg try; Brendan McKibbin conversion. HSBC Waratahs 24-16
76th – Richard Kingi try; Tim Walsh conversion. HSBC Waratahs 24-23
79th – Tim Walsh penalty goal. Queensland 26-24

Picture courtesy of NSW Rugby.