Brumbies mauled by the Lions - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Brumbies mauled by the Lions

Brumbies mauled by the Lions

The Lions have claimed a 13-6 win over the Brumbies in a tough battle to make it three from three on their Australian tour.

It was the Lions defence that won them this match despite only 40% of possession. It could have been called a lucky try from Kwagga Smith but they deserved it and it ended up being the difference in the end.

The Lions forwards was where it was won and Franco Mostert was immense as his lineout stealing ability was crucial. He won a number of Brumbies lineouts to help leave the Brumbies tryless for the second match in a row.

The Match

The Brumbies started off the opening period with all the ball and territory but couldn’t come up with anything to show with it.

It looked they had finally crossed the line in just the fifth minute through winger James Dargaville, but a look from the TMO at the back of an earlier ruck detected a knock on from Joe Powell.

The Lions defence held up extremely well in that same period as they defused two penalties in their own half, including an attempted rolling maul following disruption at the lineout from Franco Mostert.

The Brumbies kept hammering away at the Lions but could only come up with a penalty goal to Wharenui Hawera in the 18th minute.

Scott Fardy was put through a nice gap from Powell but he knocked on with the line open to sum up the first half.

When the Lions finally got their hands on the ball, they were happy to launch up and unders from Elton Jantjies to try put the Brumbies back three under pressure but they could not come up with much.

They only had limited chances inside the Brumbies 22 but couldn’t come up with much either in a tight first half that left the score at 3-0 at half time.


The start of the second half opened up a bit more with Kyle Godwin finding space early but the Brumbies were unable to capitalise.

The Lions replaced their whole front row early on and it paid dividends as they earned two penalties that saw Jantjies level the scores after 50 minutes.

They then scored the opening try as Kwagga Smith swooped on an errant pass from Aidan Toua aimed for Nic Mayhew and he pinned the ears back for a 60 metre run to the line and Jantjies’ conversion made it 10-3.

The Lions were prepared to kick the ball away and make the Brumbies do the work from inside their own half and the Brumbies were lucky to escape as another wayward pass from Toua copped Jordan Smiler in the face but a penalty let them off the hook.

The Brumbies did close the gap to four points with Hawera’s second penalty after a rare excursion into the Lions half.

The Brumbies set piece was starting to become an issue as they lost another lineout in a crucial part of the field with Mostert again stealing a lineout.

Joe Powell was trying to get some go forward as he found gaps around the edges but another poor pass from Toua was intercepted to give the Lions some relief. There seemed to be no patience being shown as they attempted to go sideways too often instead of going forward in small doses.

With the Lions starting to defend to close out the game, their defence that had been strong all game at the tackle, repelled another Brumbies raid with another collapsed maul and followed that up with penalty with Kwagga Smith all over the ball.

The Lions were then able to close out the game with a late penalty to Andries Coetzee and leave the Brumbies winless in four matches and claim a clean sweep on their Australian tour leaving the Brumbies with plenty to think about before they embark on their tour of South Africa and Argentina next week.

The Game Changer

The Lions try in the 55th minute when Kwagga Smith swopped on a loose pass for the only try of the match.


Franco Mostert – His lineout work and general play was huge in tonight’s win.

Wallaby Watch

Joe Powell had a good game in a beaten side with the Test series not far away.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Penalties: Hawera 2
Tries: Smith
Conversions: Jantjies
Penalties: Jantjies, Coetzee





Photos courtesy Tim Anger

  • Gilbert

    Brumbies need a decent 5/8th

    • mutley

      we had 2. One went to England and the other got Luekemia. It was always going to be a problem this year. Would have preferred if they developed a junior or local though.

    • Simon

      All the Aussie teams need a decent 5/8th. The Tahs are the only ones with a serviceable 10 and when he’s injured they’ve got nobody else to cover him either.

      • Gilbert

        Yup I agree. We are in the poo if Foley gets injured…

        • Adrian

          It’s probably Beale, but Cooper can do at a pinch, and Lance if he had good players either side of him

  • Brumby Runner

    Aiden Toua had a shocker, and it was obvious early on that he wasn’t up for the match. It is mysterious just why Larkham left him on for the whole game, especially after Banks had had such an effective game at 15 against the Blues. Then Banks replaced Dargaville ho was contributing much more to the game than Toua.

    And what inspired the coaches to replace Jordan Smiler. Smiler was putting pressure on the Lions’ lineout and had won at least one turnover there. He was also making ground with the ball in open play.

    I am disappointed when it looks like the coaches simply have a pre-game plan to replace certain players at specified times without any apparent consideration at all for what is actually happening on the ground. Where is their imagination?

    • onlinesideline

      thats a problems with a lot of the way we are coached right through to Wobblies – no play whats in front of you any more including sub decisions

    • Merrow

      Agree re Toua, but Smiler’s just come back from a leg injury so makes sense that he was replaced.

  • Nicholas

    So disappointed. For a while it looked ok. They made the lions work for it amd play to their strong in the first halve. But the second hlave opened up too much.

    For the brumbies moving forward they need a decent 10/12. While they are ok atm to be a title runner they just arnt good enough. Its telling as even at the top of the conf they arnt being talked about for the Wallabies.

    • Chinese Dave

      Umm, the 10 is a Kiwi…

      • Nicholas

        And now I look like and idiot. Still Goodwin is ozzie. He is probable the 4th pick atm and he is in our best preforming side.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well done Ado!

  • Tomthusiasm

    Same, although I was rooting for the Brumbies, in a non sexual sense of course. I think the Lions will probably grab top spot this season.

  • Rebels3

    With this national coaching conference coming up, what good is it going to be when the ideas are all coming from people who believe in preprogrammed performances, building robotic like players and have the vision of a man with 2 eyes poked out? Let’s hope mick Byrne sits them all down, tells them to shut up and listen to how rugby is played in 2017. Our golden era of the late 90s to early 00s has left a path of destruction in the way we coach, play and train the game in 2017.

    I am tossing up between rebels v sharks and this game for most inept game of 2017

  • Fatflanker

    I’m the first to express reservations about Steven Larkham, but to be fair, Brumbies were quite unlucky not to have a two-score lead in the first half…very little went their way last night. They defended bloody well, scrum was on-top for most of the game, line-out held up for most of the game. Some exhibitions of powerful running and individual initiative too but you just get the sense that, on the whole, their attack is too predictable and pedestrian.

    Joe Powell’s knocking on when he goes to pick the ball up at the base of the ruck is a recurring problem and inexcusable at this level.

    • Adrian

      Powell’s knocking on is probably caused by a sneaky hand or leg, 9 times out of 10

  • Xaviera

    Ha – I tipped the Lions by four, so you can imagine how impressed I was when WW decided to take the shot rather than end the match.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    I didn’t understand the replacement of Arnold. He’s immense and probably the number 1 lock in Australia at the moment. I think Larkham has a replacement plan before the game starts and then is too inflexible to change.

    • Tim

      Arnold was having a good game aswell he looked pissed when he got subbed off. Larkham is a shit coach haven’t rated him at all

      • Brumby Runner

        Except that he was limping just before he was replaced. Might have been an injury protection move, that one.

  • Adrian

    The Brumbies playing a deepish backline and just passing the ball from side to side made them easy pickings. Under Larkhams guidance, we did this v England last year, and it failed. This type of backline became redundant when McQueen/Muggleton “invented” the co-ordinated Rugby League style rushing defence (with good tacklers) at the turn of the century.

    The only backlines that work are flat ones with offloads at the gainline, OR very deep backlines with the centres receiving the ball as top pace.

    We don’t have any current coaches that understand very deep backline play, and only 1 or 2 players, including Cooper.

    This means a flat backline coached by the only coach we have that understands flat backlines, Cheika!

    With the Wallabies, “attack coach” Larkham should just stick to individual skills such as passing and kicking.

    From the 3rd NZ test last year, we started doing this, and should continue with it, helped by Beale.

    The NZ sides are flat (mostly) or very deep, never in-between, and we should take notice

    • Simon

      Yep, it’s a recurring theme. Somehow the Aussie coaches don’t seem to have figured out that the style of backline play they insist on using is a decade out of date at least. Unfortunately the over-structured backline moves do still work occasionally which I suspect is what’s keeping it alive in Australian rugby. Coaches think “we just need to do it better!” instead of “we need to abandon it.”

      What makes it worse is that Australian halfbacks still provide the slowest ball in the competition. We overcommit to the rucks which makes it slow to recycle. Watch the Kiwi teams or even the Sunwolves and they are much quicker at clearing the ball which doesn’t give the defence a chance to reset. When the Waratahs have made their second-half comebacks the last few weeks it’s been off the back of lightning quick ball, and surprise surprise, it works.

      Quick ball, offloads and imaginative attacking kicking seem to be the way the Kiwis (and even the South Africans) are dealing with the rush defence and breaking the line. We hardly do any of it.

      • Adrian

        The example you gave re a couple of recent Waratah comebacks is spot on.

        It of course requires having the right players on the field at the right time.

        Given it’s a Waratah thing, and a Cheika thing it tends to be a bit unpopular here. There are lots of good reasons not to like the Waratahs, but I don’t think this is one of them.

        It certainly won’t help Australian Rugby long term (because the issues are structural), but in the short term this method of play is what the Wallabies must embrace this year.

        Non Tah players Sio, Alaalatoa, TPN, Coleman, Arnold, Timani, Powell, Kerevi, Kurandrani, Hunt can play this way. Add in Kepu, Latu, Skelton, Foley, Beale and Australia can do it too. Have Phipps on the field when we are doing this, and off the field when we aren’t. IMO it’s the best way to start a game.

        Who knows?

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