Brumbies run wild against the Western Force - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Brumbies run wild against the Western Force

Brumbies run wild against the Western Force

  • Brumbies 4 first half tries
  • Doubles to Len Ikitau Andy Muirhead
  • Tries to Taefu and Prior for the Force

The Brumbies have put the disappointment of the loss to Queensland two weeks ago and convincingly put away the Western Force 42-14 in Canberra tonight.

Doubles to winger Andy Muirhead and Len Ikitau led the Brumbies to a bonus point win that was all but sewn up at half time as they held a 28-0 lead.

The home side didn’t have it all their own way as the Force matched the Brumbies for the opening 20 minutes before the floodgates opened in the six tries to two win.

With a number of new faces in the Brumbies side following injuries and suspension, it could have been a bit of a danger game but the final score proved otherwise.

The Match

It was a fairly cagey opening from both sides as they tried to assert early dominance and the Force could claim an early win as they made Brumbies employ the tactic of grubbers in behind the Force defence to try and turn them around.

The Force also benefitted from a misfiring Brumbies lineout and it seemed they had worked on maul defence during the week as wave after wave of rolling mauls came their way but some strong defence kept the Brumbies at bay.

Despite all that good work they lost Jake McIntyre to a hamstring injury inside the opening ten minutes to bring a backline reshuffle with Jonno Lance taking his place.

Folau Fainga’a went very close to scoring after 17 minutes but was knocked back by the TMO although it looked like the ball may have scraped the line before Fainga’a was pushed back in the tackle.

While their maul defence was strong, the Force backline defence was letting them down to see a warning come their way from Nic Berry and it was not the return to Canberra Tevita Kuridrani would have wanted as he copped a yellow card for knocking the ball down.

The weight of possession was too much for the Force to defend and eventually Len Ikitau scored the opening try and send a reminder to Dave Rennie before a Wallabies training squad is named shortly.

They almost went back-to-back as Pete Samu ran a great line down the left wing but a brilliant try saving tackle from Jack McGregor saved the Force.

The extra man was proving too much for the Force to contain as the Brumbies started to find their feet and Ikitau had his second as they punished the Force for Kuridrani’s yellow card with 14 points while he was in the bin.

The Brumbies were starting to get well on top from this point as they set up camp in the Force half and stifle the attack of the Force and the visitors would add to their injury toll with Greg Holmes copping a rib injury.

The tight work in close from the Brumbies led to their next try as Cadeyrn Neville got his name on the list to pile more pressure on the Force who hadn’t even ventured into the Brumbies 22.

Just before the break the home side had their fourth try of the half to Andy Muirhead off a nice backline move to make it 28-0 as they dominated the half with 67% possession and 84% territory.

Embed from Getty Images

The Force came out looking much better early in the second half and almost had their first points of the game but Kuridrani was held up as they found rare time in the Brumbies 22.

On the back of a number of penalties, the Force attempted to give the Brumbies a dose of their own medicine with a rolling maul but they would finally crack the line with Henry Taefu getting over after a big carry again from Kuridrani.

But the Brumbies wouldn’t take long to hit back as their backs seemed to be having a field day with their handling down the right wing to put the Force back under pressure. A botched lineout allowed the Brumbies back on attack and replacement hooker Lachlan Lonergan was next on the board as he eventually grounded the ball after a look from the TMO.

With the Brumbies ringing the changes seeing a debuts for new prop Fred Kaihea, the Force started to find ground through the middle with Tim Anstee and Tomas Lezana with big carries.

A yellow card to Brumbies prop Harry Lloyd for repeated infringements had the Force on attack and a sneaky Ian Prior found the line to make it 35-14 with 15 minutes remaining.

With ten minutes to go, a high tackle from Kuridrani allowed the Brumbies to launch their maul before they unleashed the backs in acres of space and Muirhead had his second of the night. Ryan Lonergan continued the 100% kicking rate to make it 42-14 in the end and make it 11 straight wins over the Force.

The Game Changer

The Force were right in the fight for the first 20 or so minutes. Then they were very much out of it after the Kuridrani yellow card.


Plenty to like from the Brumbies tonight but Len Ikitau gets the nod with 2 tries and is getting better each game and gaining plenty of confidence as he came up against Tevita Kuridrani tonight.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Muirhead 2, Ikitau 2, Neville, L. Lonergan
Conversions: Lolesio 5, R Lonergan
Tries: Taefu, Prior
Conversions: Prior 2


18 mins – Kuridrani (Force) – Yellow
64 mins – Lloyd (Brumbies) – Yellow

  • Steve

    Thanks for the writeup Steve!

    Brumbies took a while to click into gear there but once they did it was only going to end one way. Force looked a lot better in the second half, they still look like they have players to be dangerous but the coaching clearly isn’t there yet – they still lack cohesion across the park and much in the way of interesting tactics.

    Best part of the game for me was Ikitau and Simone combining – the number of offloads and flick passes they are getting to each other now is really causing defensive headaches.
    Ikitau has the best pair of hands I’ve seen in a long time from an Aus midfielder – He is great at beating the outside shoulder with pace and then either popping back inside or delivering to the winger. I’m concerned he may be a bit small for test rugby but deserves a chance to be brought into the setup.

    Same goes for Andy Muirhead, delivers every game, beats tackles and doesn’t make many errors.

    • Huw Tindall

      Muirhead smokey for Wallabies without Tom Wright IMO. Daugunu too similar to Koroibete. Like my 14 to have more well rounded skills and boot.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      That centre pairing is playing well and fed well by Lolesio and White. They really seem to be understanding each other’s play a lot better

  • Greg

    Thanks for the report. Much appreciated.

    I thought this was tight at times with much good work done by the Force. In the end they were outclassed and the Brumbies clear and deserved winners.

    A few thoughts.
    1. I thought the policing of the breakdown was very inconsistent. I saw (mainly) white players flopping on the tackled player and taking out players behind the ruck without a lot of attention
    2. I would like to see the maul laws changed. It is just not an interesting part of the game, if it happens 20 times. I could not watch to the end.

    • Greg

      Watching France and Scotland atm. Some breathtaking backs play form France and…. rolling mauls galore. Argh. There is nothing less imaginative.

    • Huw Tindall

      Agree. It’s the one time where the off side rule is different so it’s completely illogical.

    • Timbo

      Despite some recent good games, Nic Berry didn’t have a good one. Inconsistent breakdown, scrum and offside and forward pass law interpretation. There seems to be allowance of forward passes across the game but the Brums seem to get away with it because of their speed and slickness.
      White needs to pull his head in as does Faingaa. Make them look like spoilt little children when throwing handbags at the team second from the bottom.

  • Huw Tindall

    Are the Force essentially as bad as the Tahs now?

    • well, they don’t come from NSW ;)

    • Brisneyland Local

      No they are definitely better. They were down Kahui, and the Irishman. Which is a lot of their back guidance and strength. That and being down to 14 never helps. I am starting to think that a yellow for an intentional knock dwon is a bit harsh. The force will be better next week. I dont think the Tarts will be.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Mind you the Tahs have a lot out as well. Force forwards much better than the Tahs, especially the tight 5

        • Brisneyland Local


    • Perth girl

      If so does that mean they’ll get a visit from the Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson? Nah, didn’t think so!

  • Easy win for the Brums.

    Force were written off after the first 30mins or so, due to the constant penalties blown against them.

    There was no coming back from there.
    Whether the penalties were deserved I’m not sure, Ill watch the game again later when Im less biased and re-assess my opinions.

  • Nutta

    Cheers Steve

    Disappointed by the wasted opportunities by the Donkeys. Samu’s no-try was the best example. Just unwarranted arrogance. At least 3x bombed tries.

    I thought Lolly played well but Jono Lance was a re-revelation and the Forcies best. K’Train back to his mid-field smashing best both with ball and without it. But a poor 1st half and the silly yellow from him means I gave my BOG to Jono. I expected more of Timani but maybe he is just working back into it.

    Massive ups to the Donkey1 vs Homer Holmes. The commentary team was talking up Slips but the scrum work that No1 put in was awesome. Not often I have ever seen Homer done over. And he was done over. He walked off with popped rib cartilage from the look of it. That’s no small feat.

    I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… Go Tarts.

    • Hutch

      Are you really giving BOG to a player from the losing side in a 30 point loss?

      • Nutta

        Poor expression on my part. JL was BOG for the Forcies.

        I think the Donkeys best was either Maddocks or Slipper.

        • *Whispers*
          Maddocks wasn’t playing

        • Nutta

          Whoever was the fkn Donkey fullback then. My bad. Now bugger off!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Wash your mouth out Nutta. We will have no talk of sedition

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Steve, a good result in the end but gee the Force played really well until Kuridrani went off. That failed try by Samu shows why DR wasn’t interested in him last year. What a pathetic attempt by a player of his size and at his level. That should have been a try every day of the week and he completely stuffed that up with a poor body position. I’d guess he’ll be banned from the World loose forward club after that one.
    Still a lot of poor individual skills for me. Too many passes going behind the receiver forcing him to stop and start again and I find this so disappointing at this level. On today’s game I’m not sure they’ll push the NZ clubs as much as people have been saying, not unless they tighten things up a lot and play a lot better

    • Brisneyland Local

      I agree. The Aus SR teams are too inconsistent to be really conpetitive against the Kiwi teams. Let alone against the Dark Saders aka the All Blacks B team.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks Steve.

    The Fainga’a no try was a mystery until I realised the blade of grass that the ball touched on the line must have been the wrong one.

    Pete Samu should be ashamed. Not only for his poor effort to ground the ball, but because he didn’t pass to a player on his inside who had a clear run to the tryline.

    Force had apparently concentrated their training this week on maul defence, and they were excellent at it. But they forgot about other things, like the scrum and backline defence.

    Nutta, a man who knows these things about front row play, has given plaudits to Harry Lloyd at LHP. Harry has been an exceptional talent coming through the ranks for a few years, even while at the Force. He looks to me to be one of the strongest men in the game. He is now realising that potential.

    The Brumbies backline attack, including when various forwards were involved, was sublime. Some of their passing interchanges were a joy to behold. I reckon they have the game plan and skills to open up any defensive system. KARL just might be in for a shock.

  • Bert

    Remember that game in RSA where the ref had eyes for one side only and blew the rebels off the park? It felt like he’d had a second coming in the first half.
    Sure all those penalties were borderline legit, but there is no way only one team infringed for the first 40mins.
    After the oranges NB then came out and blew a bunch the other way, I’d say to save his own job.
    There’s a blowable penalty every minute in the game at present. Refs have to exercise restraint and the wisdom of Solomon to let the whole game flow.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      It’s hard when the players are making so many dumb mistakes and not learning from them. You can only rule on what is in front of you and if the players don’t respond and adopt their game then you really have no choice. Little things like taking half a step back if you’re constantly getting pulled up for off side, but that doesn’t seem to happen

ACT Brumbies

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

More in ACT Brumbies