Brumbies break Hamilton hoodoo - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies break Hamilton hoodoo

Brumbies break Hamilton hoodoo

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 Match

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.


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.

Wallaby Watch

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.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Samu 2, Banks, Kata
Conversions: Lolesio 3
Tries: Cruden, Lienert-Brown
Conversions: McKenzie 2


52 mins – Slipper (Brumbies) -Yellow

  • Tim

    Sweet Jesus it was just like last week. Just kept on inviting the chiefs back into the game. Slipper played so well in the first 40 minutes. The 10 played well but again alot of things needs work they need to put the foot on the throat. Overall fucking cheering that we won!!!! Still alot of work to be done

    • idiot savant

      Lolesio was outstanding. One of Gatland’s big tactical errors was to instruct everyone to run at him. He hardly missed a tackle and they wasted attacking opportunities wider out. And for a 4 gamer, his poise in attack was astonishing. This kid can play.

      Agree Slipper was immense, as was Valentini. Gee Im liking his work. Samu and Miller were good. Im loving the Brums breakdown work. Laurie is a master and must coach the Wallaby forwards. Banks touch kicking is elite and his all round game is looking better every week.

      • Adrian

        Spot on again idiot.

        I know it is early days, but I’m gravitating towards a Wallabies with a Brumbies run-on look to it and a Reds bench….. with about 2 Rebels and 1 or 2 Tahs in the 23

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          This would be my team right now. Think you need the Reds’ locks and probably Naisarani at 8 for line out jumping.

          If Lolesio maintains his good form, he could well push Toomua out. But I’d opt for the guy with plenty of international experience over the rookie at this stage.

          1. Sio – BRU1
          2. Fainga’a – BRU2
          3. Alaalatoa – BRU3
          4. Rodda – RED1
          5. Salakaia-Loto – RED2
          6. Samu – BRU4
          7. Hooper – WAR1
          8. Naisarani – REB1
          9. White – O/S1
          10. Toomua – REB2
          11. Nawaqanitawase – WAR2
          12. O’Connor – RED3
          13. Kuridrani – BRU5
          14. Speight – RED4
          15. Banks – BRU6

          16. Slipper – BRU7
          17. Mafi – RED1
          18. Tupou – RED2
          19. Philip – REB1
          20. Valetini – BRU8
          21. Louwrens – REB2
          22. Lolesio – BRU9
          23. Simone – BRU10

        • idiot savant

          Good side. Marky Mark is a bolter! I think his defence is probably not test standard yet. Id prefer Tom Wright. And maybe a back 3 player in the 23 jersey. If were talking bolters maybe Campbell.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You’ve gotta learn though. Stockdale shows the value of having a class attacking player, even when his defence isn’t there.

          Wright is a good call though, and someone I hadn’t really considered…

          I figured JOC could switch into the back 3, if required.

        • Adrian

          Sounds good. All worthy and realistic selections.
          I have Lolesio starting with O’Connor on the bench. I also have Korebette instead of Speight, but really, these are more or less semantic differences.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Good call, I forgot about Koroibete… Agree with you on him.

  • Bobas

    Every Brumby on the feild played well and has a memorable highlight in my mind, except for Pulu unless you count his text on screen about playing for both teams as a highlight.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    WoW! I did not expect that. The Brumbies played very well and seemed to out muscle the Chiefs who played some dumb rugby. The Chiefs remind me of England at the RWC, everything on one game – in this case the Crusaders – and nothing left. I wonder how many people are still calling for Gatland to take over the ABs now.

    • RedAnt

      Think it’s more that the Chiefs simply thought they’d win – they’d been playing well, they were at home and the Brumbies were without a couple of key players and hit by mumps – and so they relaxed mentally. Took a full half to wake up. Still a coaching issue to some extent though.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah I think you’re right but with a good coach that would have been sorted halfway through the first half. I’m personally not a fan of Gatland and I hope Robinson continues to develop and comes through

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Come on, Gatland isn’t quite my cup of tea either (I think his teams are a bit too one dimensional) but he is certainly better than a ‘good coach’. Wales isn’t exactly oozing with talent and with them he:

          – won three grand slams;
          – dominated Aus and South Africa in the last World Cup cycle;
          – almost beat SA in the QF the while contending with injuries in a team that lacked depth and losing his attack coach prior to the tournament; and
          – got Wales to the number one team in the world for a brief period.

          He also won a Lions tour in Aus and drew in New Zealand.

          I’d go so far as to say he’s a great coach.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I agree he’s a good coach. I just don’t Like him much and don’t want him coaching the ABs. Probably a bit irrational but I do think his best days are behind him not in front of him whereas I think Robertson has got his best days ahead of him

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’d prefer they take a punt on Razor too, whose best days are ahead of him.

          If they went for Gatland then getting the right assistants would be even more important.

  • idiot savant

    The first half was one of the best halves of rugby Ive seen from an Australian side against top class sides in a very long time.

    Last week the first half by the Reds against the test laden Jaguares was also one of the best Australian performances against a top class side for yonks.

    I also recall a brilliant half by the Tahs against a top kiwi side some years back. What struck me about these 3 performances is that they were all achieved by playing attacking rugby where the ball is kept alive – the kind of rugby we used to be good at a very long time ago. Yes they all obviously featured dominant forward packs who delivered quality ball but there have been plenty of games where we have done that but not won like these 3 halves. What stands out for me is that NONE OF THESE PERFORMANCES HAD A CRASH BALL INSIDE CENTRE. All of them had distributors (Simone, Stewart, Beale). If we are to get up off the carpet of world rugby it wont be by having crash ball inside centres. Well done McKellar. He knows the ball scores the try, not the man.

    • Adrian

      Exactly idiot

      • Steve

        This never fails to make me laugh!!

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Yeah but to be fair most horrendous performances by Australia feature distributing centres. In fact, most performances by Australia full stop feature distributing 12a, so in purely mathematical terms you’d expect most good performances to feature a distributing 12.

      I thus think it would be a logical fallacy to assume that we need a primarily distributing 12 to reach out potential. Our annihilation of the All Blacks in Perth last year featured Kerevi at 12 and the distributor at 13. Either system can work, but at least one centre needs to be a bigger runner and at least one centre needs to be able to distribute well.

      • idiot savant

        Yeah I know its a bias of mine so I manipulated the stats to suit my argument! I think of the truly great Australian sides we’ve had and they had distributors at 12 (Lynagh, Horan). I think of the disaster we had when we chose McCabe at 12. I also think the All Blacks could’ve chosen Laumape but went with Crotty instead. SBW was a distributor first and crash ball second. And in Perth JOC often swapped with Kerevi and Kerevi was quiet in that game. I dont think it works at international level. No kiwi defence is ever going to be cowed by a crash baller. Jamie Roberts crashed it up for about a dozen losing tests in a row against us even when we often had soft defence at 12. Also I think that backs have been coached to be more effective at the ruck so they can slow the ball now which defeats the real purpose of crash ball which is a quick recycle.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          My memory of that Perth Bled was Kerevi actually attacked at 12, and JOC linked from 13. McCabe didn’t work because he was a small bloke and lacked the power.

          We both also know that it’s way too simplistic to say players are either ‘crashballers’ or ‘distributors’. There is a spectrum.

          I wouldn’t call Kerevi a ‘crashballer’. I’d say he looks to run first but can also link. If I played him in the centres I’d look for more of a distributor to partner him.

          But I also wouldn’t call SBW a distributor first or foremost either. His passing before contact left a lot to be desired. He primarily looked to run then get an offload away.

          If Jamie Roberts is at the crash baller end of the spectrum and Farrell is at the other end, then everyone else existed somewhere in between. If you want to play a big slow bloke who gets over the gain line I think It makes a lot more sense for them to play at 12 than 13.

        • formerflanker

          “McCabe didn’t work because he was a small bloke and lacked the power.”
          Certainly didn’t lack heart.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          One of the bravest players I’ve seen.

        • Seb V

          Or find a player who can do both…. SBW and Nonu prime examples. Kerevi has that potential. Although I agree they don’t necessarily need to be “crash ballers” they just need to be a running threat, in which case Simone looks the goods.

        • numpty

          Kerevi was quiet in that game!?! Now you’re just takin the piss. Every single rugby ad since that match has had the snippet of Kerevi bulldozing Barrett before giving it to White for that epic try.

        • idiot savant

          Sorry, I meant he was quiet in the 12 channel. When he bulldozed Barret he was playing on the wing. Which is not a bad place for him.

        • numpty

          No he wasn’t quiet in the 12 channel, he made well over 100 run meters in that game. Him and Naisarani were massive that game in providing front foot ball off of a Nic White masterclass. Yes, he was running down the wing in that instance, doesn’t mean he was playing wing. That run was part of a set exit move with a pod of SK, MK and Naisarani on the far side. As you can see it was pretty effective.

        • numpty

          To make the pt – look at the stats. 88 run metres (not quite 100m), 20 carries, 5 defenders beaten, 3 clean breaks, 0 missed tackles and a try assist.

        • idiot savant

          My apologies to you, Samu, and all his fans. I stand corrected.

  • Steve

    What a great game. Some thoughts:

    Collisions and set piece. Win it and you will always make life very difficult for your opposition. This was a Laurie Fisher masterclass and if Rennie has his head screwed on he will be getting in touch.

    Simone. What a difference he makes to taking pressure off Lolesio and letting the young man play his game. Cheika was the master at not recognising these kinds of relationships and expecting players to perform out of context – for me Simone allows both Lolesio and TK to shine.

    Banks. His nose still sporting the results of last week’s nasty shoulder-to-shoulder collision, but touch finding was amazing. Who woulda thought you win rugby games by biting off territory and then applying set piece pressure?

    • Seb V

      Cheika “expecting players to perform out of context” summed up perfectly. Banks is a very solid option at fullback, certainly showing his worth this season. This pin point kicks are setting up those driving mauls, lots of players strength’s complementing each other in this squad. Turning into a really balanced team: strong forwards, solid step-piece, great maul, solid kickers in the halves and fullback, pace and strength out wind, solid defense all over. And now starting to show some attack, loving it.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      You’re right about Simone, but I think there are other players capable of performing a similar role – Toomua and JOC, for example.

      • Steve

        Definitely DBTB. I don’t envy whoever has to pick the first Wallaby backline this year – I think it will be a leap of faith regardless.

        I’m almost hoping JOC or Toomua give Rennie a reason not to pick Lolesio, this year just seems too soon

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Agreed. I’d still pick Toomua at this stage. But by next year, all bets are off.

        • Graeme

          Lolesio seems very mature given how young he is. But he still needs a season or two in super rugby before being considered for the Wallabies. Last week reminded us that he can be pressured and is still work in progress.

        • Seb V

          Loloseio to go with the squad as a development player, I agree it’s too soon for him to start.

        • numpty

          I say get the four of them – JOC, Toomua, Lolesio and Simone in camp and go from there. JOC is playing well with Stewart outside him who is a similar style to Simone. At this pt I’m almost picking Simone and making the 10 fit to him he is playing that well.

        • Steve

          There’s nothing I love more than a Waratahs castoff coming good at the Brumbies numpty!!

      • Geoffro

        Simone probably gets my gong for most improved player last season or so.I can see him making that 12 his own

    • numpty

      great summary and no doubt their breakdown work is top notch, just look at their continuity and bodies in motion, its almost like 3 blokes were running at every hole allowing constant offloads. Totally anecdotal – but I feel Banks is in the right place at the right time more often this yr. I have a feeling his positioning has improved meaning he was there to snuff out any half chances when they appeared.

  • Brumby Runner

    An excellent performance by the Brumbies today, matched only by the quality of comments by posters on this page.

  • Hutch

    Did anyone else notice the Chiefs tactic of swatting the ball out of Powell’s hands? They did it 3 times. Isn’t that a straightforward intentional knock on? Why try it so many times?

    • Geoffro

      I think its probably seen more as a strip and easier to do to halves who are constantly looking away to clear the ball quickly

  • numpty

    The brumbies are a VERY good side, picking up where they left off from last yr. So well coached and drilled, loving the continuity of ball between forwards and backs in attack, its seamless. Only blemish, they lost their ability to hold onto the ball in the last 20, if chiefs l/out didn’t capitulate it could’ve been a tighter affair. After being critical of Powell for taking a step before service last week, his delivery was crisp this week, and super hungry in defense too. Macernerny and Slipper immense also. TK and Banks great decision making in D.

  • Ok, I’m going to be hyper-critical here. I am not trying to rain on the Brumbies parade, I thought they outplayed the Chiefs and were good value for the win and thoroughly deserved it.

    But while everyone is anointing Lolesio into the G&G 10 shirt I just wanted to point out one thing – pretty much every kick he made from hand in field went straight to hand. Perhaps that’s a team tactic, and there are times when it’s unavoidable of course. But against a top quality test side that likes counterattacking that is going to come back to bite you. And the Wallabies are certainly going to play one of those three times this year. The Boks aren’t averse to it either in the right circumstances.

    It was made worse in this case because the Brumbies kick chase was spectacularly poor, which is not his fault and you’d hope that the Wallabies won’t suffer from that. That’s not necessarily Lolesio’s fault but it can be – if the kick isn’t expected, the team aren’t going to chase well because they’re just slow to take off after the ball. I didn’t get good enough TV angles to tell, so I’m not assigning blame – there were certainly times where as a long-term observer the kick was the obvious play and there was no chase either, so I think the team just don’t chase well.

    I think he does a lot of things really well, don’t get me wrong, but that’s a weakness that might come back to bite him.

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