The Reds scored three tries to one but it wasn’t enough for victory against the Brumbies.
The two teams tied 19-all after the Brumbies led 13-7 at halftime.
Australia’s two best sides produced one of the matches of the season and while no team won Australian rugby was definitely the winner.
The Wallabies selectors will have gained plenty of insights from a match played with great intensity and purpose.
The Brumbies defence in the last 15 minutes was heroic as the Reds persisted with a forward based attacked to reduce the 19-12 deficit and turn it into a victory.
The Reds spent nine of the last 10 minutes in the Brumbies 22 and turned down several penalty goal attempts in an effort to get a bonus point try. They finished with three tries and were held up on the line on three other occasions.
Liam Gill scored a converted try to deadlock the match at 19-all with two minutes to play but there wasn’t enough time to force a result.
The Reds’ desire to win was almost tangible. They refused every opportunity to kick penalties and relied exclusively on five pointers to fashion a result. It wasn’t enough against the resilience of the visitors, who did everything legal and illegal to defend their line.
The Brumbies lost one player to the sin bin in the last 10 minutes and could easily have lost another player because of persistent infringements.
The first half produced excellent attack and defence. The Brumbies were more clinical and the Reds frantic and the more composed team deservedly led at half-time.
The Reds sustained the intensity in the second half and played with more accuracy and less chaos to deny the Brumbies possession and field position.
The Reds, their pack stronger in the set phases, were relentless in trying to secure the win but the Brumbies, second in the fight for the ball, were colossal in defending their tryline.
Teams with less will would have capitulated. Not so the Brumbies.
The Reds supporters would feel their team deserved five league points but a draw rewarded the defence of the Brumbies.