Two tries from Ben Tapuai helped the Reds pick up their first victory of the Super Rugby campaign on Saturday, beating the Waratahs 25-17 in Brisbane.
The Queenslanders appeared to be cruising to a comprehensive win after leading 17-3 at half-time. But the Waratahs clawed their way back after the break to level the scores 17-17, and set up a thrilling finish with just over 10 minutes of the match remaining.
But a second Mike Harris penalty followed by a pulsating break-out from flank Eddie Quirk - which led to Tapuai's second touchdown - sealed the deal for the 2011 champions.
Waratahs scrum-half Brendan McKibbon booted the visitors into an early lead but from then on it was all the Reds in the first half as Dom Shipperley and Tapuai both scored tries, as the hosts controlled possession and capitalised on handling errors by the Sydneysiders.
Harris kept his 100 per cent record at goal with a penalty as the Reds went into the interval 17-3 ahead against the rusty Waratahs, who had a bye last week.
But after the break the visitors looked a lot more lively and hit back with a try through Israel Folau, who delivered a mixed performance in his first Super Rugby outing. Fly-half Bernard Foley converted from far out to reduce the deficit to seven points, and the 'Tahs were back in the hunt.
The Reds appeared to be tiring and the Waratahs levelled the score when Foley completed a tough conversion after a superb solo try from replacement back Ben Volavola in the 59th minute.
The visitors looked to have all the momentum, but the Reds got some crucial breathing space with a long-range Harris penalty in the 69th minute, before Quirk's bustling saw him dragged down by Folau just shy of the tryline.
But the flanker was able to pop a pass to the supporting Tapuai for a try that finally put the result beyond doubt.
Tries: Shipperley, Tapuai 2
Con: Harris 2
Pen: Harris 2
Tries: Folau, Volavola
Con: Foley 2
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris F'Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Ed O'Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper (c), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Luke Morahan.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Tom Kingston, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Dave Dennis (c), 6 Michael Hooper, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)