The Queensland Reds' Super Rugby Pacific home finals hopes have evaporated in a crushing homecoming for fallen Wallabies star Suliasi Vunivalu.

Vunivalu was sent off following two trips that cost the Reds dearly in a 28-19 loss to Fijian Drua in Suva.

Saturday's defeat left Queensland in fifth spot, an unreachable 11 competition points behind the fourth-placed Chiefs with two rounds remaining.

Vunivalu could not have envisaged such a nightmare return to his native Fiji after leaving his side a player short for 30 minutes of the game.

His first leg trip on Drua flanker Kitiona Salawa left Australian referee Angus Gardner with no alternative than to award the home team a fourth-minute penalty try.

With Vunivalu in the sin bin, hooker Tevita Ikanivere also stormed over to earn the Drua a 10-0 lead inside eight minutes.

The Reds hit back with nice replies from winger Floyd Aubrey and five-eighth Lawson Creighton to only trail 15-14 at halftime.

But Vunivalu's dismissal shortly after the break proved the tipping point.

This time he stuck a rogue leg out that caught his Fiji opposite Selestino Ravutaumada in the lead-up to Ikanivere's second try of the day.

Down by 11 points and to 14 men, not even the introduction of veteran former Wallabies star James O'Connor could save the Reds.

They further shot themselves in the foot with wayward lineout throws and ill-disciplined penalties as the eighth-placed Drua all but shored up their own finals spot.

The visitors briefly had hope of snatching victory from the jaws of the defeat after a 77th-minute driving maul try to replacement forward George Blake.

Instead, the Reds were denied even a bonus point through a last-gasp Drua penalty goal from Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula that stretched the winning margin beyond seven points.

"Look, we got punched in the face a bit early. Our contact wasn't good enough," said Reds captain Liam Wright.

"We've fallen off tackles and Fiji run hard, especially in front of their own crowd. We knew they would after results in the past.

"Yeah, the fight, the bounce back was really good. We found a way back into that game, especially towards halftime.

"But probably the story of the game is that penalty before halftime. Ill-discipline crept in and just killed a few opportunities we created."

The Reds finish the regular season with derbies against the Western Force and NSW Waratahs.

The best they can finish is fifth, most likely meaning a knockout quarter-final against either the Chiefs in New Zealand or ACT Brumbies in Canberra is on the cards.

Drua 28 (Tries: Ikanivere 2, Penalty; Cons: Ravula; Pens: Ravula 2, Valetini) def Reds 19 (Tries: Aubrey, Creighton, Blake; Cons: Creighton 2)




Drua: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Waqa Nalaga, 11 Epeli Momo, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Elia Canakaivata, 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Etonia Waqa, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Jone Koroiduadua.
Replacements: 16 Mesulame Dolokoto, 17 Emosi Tuqiri, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 20 Vilive Miramira, 21 Peni Matawalu, 22 Kemu Valetini, 23 Taniela Rakuro.

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Taj Annan, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Floyd Aubrey, 10 Lawson Creighton, 9 Tate McDemortt, 8 John Bryant, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright, 5 Cormac Daly, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Zane Nonggorr, 2 Josh Nasser, 1 Peni Ravai.
Replacements: 16 George Blake, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Joe Brial, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Tim Ryan.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Matt Kellahan; Jeremy Markey
TMO: Brett Cronan