The Brumbies have got their season back on track with a gritty 19-13 win over the Waratahs in Canberra on the back of two tries to hooker Folau Fainga’a and a penalty try. It was a big performance after two poor results but it was their second half composure that was enough to get them over the line.
The Waratahs had plenty of chances to get into and even win the game after an early try to Michael Hooper but a disjointed performance from some of his teammates with a lot of dropped ball combined with two yellow cards to Sekope Kepu and Harry Johnson-Holmes not helping their cause.
The Waratahs got the scoring started in the just the fourth minute in unusual circumstances as Bernard Foley’s penalty goal attempt hit the right upright and was pounced upon by Michael Hooper who swiveled through some soft defence to score. And to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Foley’s conversion attempt also hit the right upright from a similar position.
With the Waratahs looking good in the early stages, the Brumbies did well to hold them out and when given their first chance in the Waratahs 22 it was the Brumbies Folau who scored to continue his hot try scoring form in 2019 a the Brumbies took a 7-5 lead after 15 minutes.
That sparked the Brumbies into action and on the back of an unlikely kick ahead from Lachlan McCaffrey that pinned the Waratahs down their own end, they rolled it over again through Fainga’a following a penalty to make it a seven point game.
The Wallaby laden backline of the Waratahs took a while to get going but they executed a brilliant move on the 30 minute mark that took scrambling defence from the Brumbies right on their own line to take down Alex Newsome.
But their good attacking work came undone on the 34 minute mark as Sekope Kepu was given a yellow card for high shot on McCaffrey in a clear out with his side in the Brumbies 22 and looking good to score next.
There was a bit of action right on half time as the Brumbies swooped on a lost ball and was toed ahead by Tevita Kuridrani but his counterpart Adam Ashley-Cooper saved the Waratahs from going further behind with a relieving penalty right under his own sticks to leave it 12-5 at the break.
The Waratahs looked good after the break and opened the scoring in the second half with a well worked try to Alex Newsome in the right corner. Israel Folau provided the last pass after attracting three defenders to give Newsome the easy task to score. Foley was unable to convert from the touchline to leave it at 12-10.
Despite the Waratahs fight back, they looked to be trying too hard and score off every play and lacked a bit of composure at times with a number of loose balls out in the back field.
The Brumbies back row injury curse struck again with newly re-signed Rob Valetini getting twisted awkwardly in a tackle and his knee buckled and was immediately helped from the field.
From an earlier penalty, the Brumbies went to the lineout and the rolling maul and the pressure was too much for the Waratahs defence and referee Glen Jackson awarded a penalty try and the double whammy yellow card to Harry Johnson-Holmes for his efforts to make it 19-10 in the Brumbies favour.
The Waratahs were again able to weather the ten-minute period down to 14 players and were able to chalk up three points of their own to make it 19-13 as Foley finally landed a penalty goal.
With the subs emptying the bench in the last ten minutes, there was still time for some more action. Foley’s night of woe continued with another dropped ball to leave his team chasing the win.
The Brumbies thought they had scored late to Jordan Jackson-Hope but it was ruled out for a knock on but it didn’t matter in the end as the Brumbies won it 19-13.
The Game Changer
No real moment stood out and it was a pretty even battle throughout but the Brumbies did enough to keep their nostrils flared at the winning post for the win.
The G&GR MOTM
Folau Fainga’a was pumped up for this one and his two tries were enough to the get the Brumnbes the win.
Bernard Foley seemed out of sorts with a below par game. Kurtley Beale tried to do everything for his side but unfortunately had little help. Michael Hooper was his energetic best and scored a try.
Scott Sio looked to have picked up an injury in a busy night. Rob Valetini looked to have picked up a serious knee injury. Tevita Kuridrani was quiet but did go close to scoring right on half time. Tom Banks was solid at the back and put in a good show.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Fainga’a’ 2, Penalty try
Tries: Hooper, Newsome
34 mins – Kepu (Waratahs) – Yellow
54 mins – Johnson-Holmes (Waratahs) – Yellow