The Brumbies 2018 season has received a lifeline as they snapped a three match losing streak to the Queensland Reds with a 45-21 bonus point win.
The final result didn’t look likely as the Reds dominated the first 25 minutes and lead 15-0 and one stage before the Brumbies took the game and outscored the Reds 33-3 in the second half as their forwards scored six of their seven tries with number 8 Isi Naisarani bagging a double.
It took the Reds only five minutes to get the scoring started. On the back of two penalties they had easy field position and Chris Feauai-Sautia showed good leg drive against the Brumbies defence and offloaded to Taniela Tupou who scored from close range.
The Brumbies barely had their hands on the ball in the opening ten minutes due to the pressure from the Reds and when they finally did, Christian Lealiifano kicked the ball touch in goal from a penalty.
The highly anticipated Lucas brothers clash only lasted a few minutes after Ben copped an accidental knock from James Dargaville’s knee to his head and played no further part in the game.
The Reds went further ahead to a Jono Lance penalty and that was followed up five minutes later to a try to Feauai-Sautia with the Brumbies first up tackles lacking and allowing the Reds cheap metres far too easily as the Reds took a 15-0 lead.
The Brumbies had injury concerns of their own, as Lachlan McCaffrey was straight onto the green whistle for an elbow injury and looked in real discomfort.
It took almost 30 minutes for the Brumbies to launch some sort of attack and it was their trusty weapon rolling maul with Folau Fainga’a coming up with the five pointer to kick start their game.
Another penalty to Lance was replied to almost immediately by the Brumbies with Isi Naisarani scoring after 13 scrappy phases deep in the Reds 22.
With the half nearly over, there was a bit more action with Feauai-Sautia given a ten minute rest for a deliberate knock down and from the resulting scrum, Fainga’a thought he had his second try of the match but it was ruled out by the TMO despite the spectacular dive.
The Reds found themselves under pressure right off the restart after Aidan Toua had his kick charged down but Samu Kerevi saved his blushes with a huge defensive play under his own sticks.
But the momentum then started to swing towards the Brumbies with two tries in as many minutes with Chance Peni getting the nod from the TMO after a few looks for the first and then Rory Arnold found himself in space and backed himself and won the race to the line. After Lealiifano’s conversion, the Brumbies were in front for the first time at 24-18.
With the game entering the last 20 minutes, the Reds settled for a penalty goal to James Tuttle to reduce the margin to three with their first real chance down the Brumbies end.
The Brumbies got some breathing space with 15 minutes to go as Sam Carter had the Brumbies fifth try of the night as he reached out as tacklers fell off him close to the line.
The game was all but sealed with ten to go as Naisarani wriggled his way over for his second of the game and Lealiifano’s conversion made it 38-21 and then David Pocock added his name to the try scorers list to round at the much needed win, 45-21.
The Game Changer
The first ten minutes the second half where the Brumbies scored two tries to gain the lead that they never gave up.
The G&GR MOTM
Was likely to be a Red player before the Brumbies took control so Isi Naisarani gets the nod. Two tries and starting to live up to his potential after some mixed performances so far in 2018.
The Reds forward pack was looking good as they dominated the scrums early. Chris Feauai-Sautia looked good with a try and an assist until his yellow card. David Pocock has only been back for two games and looked to be doing everything on his own before his team mates joined in for the second half.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Naisarani 2, Fainga’a, Peni, Arnold, Carter, Pocock
Conversions: Hawera, Lealiifano 4
Tries: Tupou, Feauai-Sautia
Penalties: Lance 2, Tuttle
39 – Feauai-Sautia (Reds) – Yellow