The Brumbies have snapped their Hamilton hoodoo with a superb 26-14 win over the Chiefs in New Zealand to put some positivity into Australian rugby after recent results. After a bout of mumps had disrupted preparation and without their supposed only scoring threat in Folau Fainga’a, the Brumbies skipped out to a 19-0 lead at half time and extended it to 26-0 before the Chiefs finally got into the game in the second half.
Two tries from number 8 Pete Samu set up the win and solid games from Tom Banks and Tevita Kuridrani saw the Brumbies wipe away the disappointment of last weeks last minute loss to the Highlanders. Noah Lolesio also had a solid game and his pairing with Irae Simone was instrumental in the 14 point win over the previously undefeated Chiefs.
The Brumbies showed in the opening minutes they were up for the challenge against the table topping Chiefs with some good play from their backs in particular, with Solomone Kata and Tevita Kuridrani getting heavily involved in the early stages.
It was the Brumbies who opened the scoring just before the ten minute mark with a try to Tom Banks with some special juggling skills from James Slipper in the lead up that you’ll need a replay to see to appreciate the skills of the big fella.
On the back of a penalty the Brumbies showed they weren’t just limited to one style of scoring and prove the naysayers wrong as they ran a nice backline move and Kata was on the end of the move to score the second try and 12-0 lead.
The inclusion of Irae Simone alongside Noah Lolesio appeared to be a calming influence as Simone attracted defenders to allow Lolesio and others to get offloads away with eight in the opening 20 minutes alone.
They played a good territory games to frustrate the Chiefs who struggled to get into the Brumbies half, apart from long kicks downfield that the Brumbies defused easily and exited their own half with ease.
The visitors blew a golden chance to go even further in front with a penalty in the Chiefs 22 saw them go to their main attacking weapon but with the line beckoning, the Chiefs came up with the turnover.
The Chiefs backline had been good in recent weeks but the Brumbies defence was doing well to nullify the threats of Damian McKenzie and co in the backline.
McKenzie’s poor game continued as he dropped a pass infield following a smart grubber kick from Kuridrani right under his own sticks that allowed the Brumbies a five-metre scrum and Pete Samu picked it up from the back and effectively strolled over and Lolesio’s conversion made it 19-0 to leave the Hamilton crowd stunned.
The hot start continued in the second half for the Brumbies as they shunned the kicking game and were patient in the build up with some strong runs from Rob Valetini and Lolesio who was prepared to run at the line.
Pete Samu’s fantastic game continued as he ran onto a pass to leave Damian McKenzie and Aaron Cruden unable to grab onto his jersey because it was tucked in and scored his second try of the game and a 26-0 lead.
The Chiefs were finally able to trouble the scorer not long after following a five-metre scrum off the back of a Brumbies penalty and Aaron Cruden crashed over from close range to give the home crowd something to cheer about.
That gave the Chiefs some momentum to keep the Brumbies on the backfoot and off back-to-back penalties, James Slipper copped a yellow card from referee Brendon Pickerill.
With the extra man advantage in the scrum, the Chiefs picked it off the back and Anton Lienert-Brown crashed over to give the home side a sniff at 26-14 after two converted tries within seven minutes.
With the game entering the last twenty minutes, the Chiefs threw everything at the Brumbies with a number of penalties around the breakdown going their way. The Brumbies defence did well to keep the Chiefs out and Connal McInerney earned a game saving penalty right on his own line when the Chiefs momentum had them looking certain to score
The home side tried everything to get over the line in the last ten minutes but again the Brumbies defence held strong to give them a deserved 26-14 win.
The Brumbies have a well-deserved week off with a bye next week before heading to Tokyo to face the Sunwolves in a fortnight.
The Game Changer
The Connal McInerney turnover penalty in the 70th minute. The Chiefs had all the momentum from the 45th minute and looked good to reduce the margin but McInerney got into the ruck to save his side.
The G&GR MOTM
After narrowing it down to 15 Brumbies players, Pete Samu earns the coveted award this week for two well deserved tries with his second proving that if your jersey is tucked in defenders can not grab at it.
Tom Banks should feature more prominently in a Wallabies jersey this year after the performance in this game with 116 metres from 15 runs and a try and solid under everything the Chiefs kicked his way. Pete Samu was impressive with two tries and he and Tevita Kuridrani reminded Wallabies selectors not to forget them come July with strong games. Kuridrani’s sneaky grubber lead to Samu’s first try.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Samu 2, Banks, Kata
Conversions: Lolesio 3
Tries: Cruden, Lienert-Brown
Conversions: McKenzie 2
52 mins – Slipper (Brumbies) -Yellow