Brumbies second half dominance seals win over Waratahs - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies second half dominance seals win over Waratahs

Brumbies second half dominance seals win over Waratahs

The Brumbies have extended their winning streak over the Waratahs with a 47-14 win over the Waratahs in Canberra. The game was in the balance just before half time at 14-14 with a try to Cadeyrn Neville minutes before half time saw the Brumbies run rampant.

The Brumbies then added another 26 unanswered points in the second half with another poor showing from the Waratahs in the second half leaving Waratahs coach Rob Penney frustrated after the game.

The Brumbies scored seven tries in total with doubles to wingers Solomone Kata and replacement Tom Wright in the 33-point win and will move to second place overall before the Super Rugby season is suspended. Other try scorers for the Brumbies were Joe Powell, Cadeyrn Neville and Tom Banks who saved the best for last.

The Match

It was a bit of a battle in the opening minutes with neither team really able to get on top. The Waratahs best chance of that period was undone by a knock on at the back of a scrum by Mitch Short.

The visitors game plan to stretch the Brumbies defence in the wide channels finally paid dividends after 12 minutes as Lachie Swinton found space down the right wing but his initial run was picked off by the Brumbies. But they lost the ball in an attempt to run it out of the 22 and it eventually ended up in the arms of captain Rob Simmons and he stretched out to score the opening try in his 150th game.

The Brumbies wouldn’t have to wait too long to get on the board. A penalty gave Tom Banks a chance to launch a kick into the Waratahs 22 and with a trademark rolling maul setting the platform, Solomone Kata scored from close range. The Waratahs were lucky that Kata scored as referee Rasta Rasivhenge was close to awarding a penalty try and sending Michael Hooper to the bin.

The Waratahs first halves had been ok in recent weeks and had their hard work saw them score their second try just after 20 minutes with the TMO giving a diving Mark Nawaqanitawase the nod in the left corner with a fingernail in it. Will Harrison’s brilliant sideline conversion made it 14-7.

The see-sawing affair continued as the Brumbies matched the Waratahs try and hit back just three minutes later after Banks found a gap and fired a brilliant pass to Kata on the right wing for his second try of the game.

Lolesio showed his kicking prowess to match Harrison’s sideline effort to level the score at 14-14 after goal kicking hand been a hot topic in recent weeks.

The Brumbies had a chance to go further in front from a rolling maul, but the Waratahs defence was impressive in getting a turnover right under their posts with Michael Hooper getting through a mountain of work to save his side.

With five minutes left in the first half the home side went in front for the first time after a good run down the left wing from Andy Muirhead had them five metres out and Cadeyrn Neville matched the robo-arm effort of Simmons to stretch out and score for a 21-14 lead.

Embed from Getty Images

The Brumbies kicked off the second half in the same way they ended the first half with a try within five minutes of the resumption. They blew their first chance as the Waratahs picked off a lineout only 10 metres out but were rewarded not long after with a nice backline move involving Muirhead as he accelerated through a gap an inside pass found Joe Powell who was probably going to score anyway before Kurtley Beale blew his hamstring in an attempt to chase Powell down.

The second halves that had plagued the Waratahs started to rear its head as ill-discipline started to count against them. With the penalty count at 9-1, the ref finally had enough and yellow carded Jack Dempsey for an early drive in the lineout only five metres out.

Michael Hooper could consider himself unlucky to concede in the leadup but the extra man advantage was too much and Tom Wright, who had come on for the injured Kata, scored in the right corner to extend the margin to 19.

The Waratahs still had some fight in them as they set up camp in the Brumbies red zone. With multiple penalties and a warning against them, Darcy Swain copped the yellow and would have no complaints but the Waratahs couldn’t get over the line with good field position.

With ten minutes remaining, the Waratahs attempted to launch an attack from their own 22 but an offload attempt from Maddocks only ended up in the arms of Wright for an easy to run to the line for the Brumbies sixth try of the arvo. Ryan Lonergan’s conversion saw the Brumbies tick past 40 points for the second week in a row.

With the full-time siren already sounded, the Brumbies kept going and a well executed backline move saw Muirhead involved again and he passed to Banks who scored in his 50th match. And for good measure he knocked over the conversion for the final score of 47-14.

The Game Changer

The Brumbies tries either side of half time to Neville and Powell gave them enough of a lead that the Waratahs couldn’t reel in.


Cadeyrn Neville got the on ground MOTM but there were plenty of Brumbies to choose from including Andy Muirhead with an impressive display and Solomone Kata and Tom Wright who scored doubles.

Wallaby Watch

Michael Hooper will appreciate the rest after this game after continually carrying his team. Kurtley Beale had a disappointing game and ended the game with ice on his hamstring. Also in the injury ward is Allan Alaalatoa who went off around the 30 minute mark with an arm injury.

Tom Banks continues to be solid at the back and his try at the death was one of the best on the day. Tevita Kuridrani had a solid game in defence with a bit of traffic coming his way with 0 missed tackles.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Kata 2, Wright 2, Neville, Powell, Banks
Conversions: Lolesio 4, R Lonergan, Banks
Tries: Simmons, Nawaqanitawase
Conversions: Harrison 2


56 mins – Dempsey (Waratahs) – Yellow
67 mins – Swain (Brumbies) – Yellow

  • Patrick

    At least it ends on a high note

  • Timbo

    Not taking away from the nags. They played better footy and their defence was excellent.

    Secondly That ref is garbage. Missed forward passes, players going off their feet at the breakdown and while Dempsey was deserving of a card, unsure what was going on down the other end. Like he was trying to even things up.

    How’s that for the last super rugby game of the season. At least the Tahs can’t get any worse.

  • Anonymous bloke

    Kurindrani also a great asset in attack today. Some great powerful carries

    • Brumby Runner

      Yes – close to MOTM, but I agree with Neville getting the gong. Has been outstanding in recent weeks; best lock on the ground v the Chiefs, Sunwolves and Tahs.

    • Steve

      Yep I thought that deserved a mention too. 73 run metres and 44 post-contact in just the first half

  • Brisneyland Local

    Evening GAGR’s. Well just finished making Margarhita’s for the lady bride after watching that game. BL’s points in no particular order:
    – THe Brumbies clearly deomsotrated why they are the top team in Aus COnference.
    – The Tarts were struggling. And I think were lucky to have the scoreline they did.
    – Unlike others I thought the referump was pretty good. YEah there were a couple of forward pass that didnt go the tarts way. But I dont know how many warning the tarts got in relation to infringements on their defensive breakdown. So as a person whose team wasnt playing, fair game I reckon.
    – Tarts lacked presence at the breakdown, and Hooper swanning in the tram tracks in stead of contesting the breakdown doesnt help.
    – Was surprised to see the Pony’s scrum get monstered a couple of times.
    – The card was fair.
    – I hope 7 A’s is alright.
    – I hope Beale retires.
    Over to you GAGR’s!
    – Good game to watch.

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      The Reds v Brumbies will be a cracker if and when it happens. The Brumbies are a serious threats for the whole shebang a bang, if the comp gets going again.

      The Tahts just don’t lack presence at the breakdown, they lack presence in the game.

      It is hard to make an informed decision on Penney, because he inherited a shit fight and the Tahs administrators are shit fights, but boy they are shit.

      • Brisneyland Local

        MIC- that is absolutely spot on. To be honest I feel sorry for Penney. I am not 100% sure he knew what he was inheriting.

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      The Reds v Brumbies will be a cracker if and when it happens. The Brumbies are a serious threats for the whole shebang a bang, if the comp gets going again.

      The Tahts just don’t lack presence at the breakdown, they lack presence in the game.

      It is hard to make an informed decision on Penney, because he inherited a shit fight and the Tahs administrators are shit fights, but boy they are shit.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Other than Kearns I haven’t heard anyone criticising Rasta. Who else has been bagging him?

      • Brumby Runner

        Well, I do but I’m sure you haven’t heard me. I think he should stick with 7s. Never been impressed with him as a ref at 15s.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Really? He, Marius and Gardner are the three refs that I am really happy to see refereeing in super rugby. I think they’re the clear standouts.

        • Bobas

          Rasta is inconsistent at the breakdown in XV’s IMO, but apart from that he’s above average. Unfortunately for him the breakdown is the main battle area of rugby so he will always have his detractors.

        • Steve

          I thought he seemed pretty fair over the course of the match, he obviously clearly favours the attacking team and arguably blows too many against defenders but to my eye he was fairly consistent about it

        • numpty

          Id agree with this. He was consistently biased towards the attacking team. Tahs struggled to adapt to this and got caught sooking.

        • I don’t think he’s that bad, certainly not in the last couple of games.

          He certainly missed a forward pass for a try but, honestly, I’d rather referees trust themselves and give decisions than check every single try. If he thought it was ok, he’s under no obligation to check after all.

          I thought he called a couple of breakdowns wrong but I think pretty much the same of every match and every referee so I’m not going to scream and shout about that.

          Overall, I quite like him as a referee. He seems to favour teams that play a positive, attacking game and not like teams that look to milk penalties. If I was giving him feedback, I’d say his biggest work-on was tightening up how he referees mauls – he seemed quite variable there about when he called once and use it. Not painfully so, but could do with some work.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          None of the referees referee the breakdown properly, except for Gardner.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Wow. I think he’s one of the best around at the moment. Very clear in his communication, makes good decisions and controls the game well. What don’t you like about him?

        • Nutta

          He is a good communicator and I loved the way he chipped a few Milkers for being nonces. But he let 3 absolutely shocking forward passes go. Not even marginals. They were NFL stuff. I also thought he should have pulled cards on both sides earlier than he did.

          Bloody hell, am I complimenting a ref?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Read the other commentors on this post! Kearns bags any one who has the temerity to blow the whistle against a Waratah.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Even Gregan called him out on it once, when Kearns grumbled about a penalty when the Tahs clearly played the Brumbies’ line out jumper in the air. I wonder if he will lose his job if Optus wins the rights.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Would any of us emply him to be a commentator. To be honest I sat next to him at a dinner party and he was a most engaging chap. But when the Tahs are playing and he has a microphone he becomes a drip.

    • I think the Tarts lacked presence in most parts of the game to be honest. Although they showed up at the set piece ironically.

      I agree about Rasta. He referees a decent game and rewards attacking play. The Tarts’ card was a card even without the warning, the Brumbies seemed fair enough too – after a string of penalties.

      I thought Harrison looked better than I’ve seen from him. Even in the second half when the wheels fell off everyone around him, he did his core things well when the Tarts got their hands on the ball. Probably not picking him for a G&G shirt but he finally looked like he properly belonged in a SR 10 jersey.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I actually thought this was one of Harrison’s less impressive outings. I think he has been very good throughout the season.

        That said, I do think out of the four Aussie 10s he has so far been the one least willing to take the ball to the line and engage the defenders. He stands a bit deeper in the pocket and just plays a bit more laterally. This could be due to how poor the Tahs’ forwards have been, but compare him to Lolesio in this match and young Noah was constant looking to pass either before or just after. contact on the line.

        • I would agree that he seems to play in the pocket more, and I suspect that’s a function of the poor play of the rest of the side.

          But if you’re a pocket 10 you need to kick well. For me, his kicks to touch were mostly 10m or more short anc his kicks infield found a player rather than grass, or were too deep to be contested, far too often. Today, throughout the match, his kicks to touch seemed better, good even, and his kicks infield seemed better too, going to grass far more often.

          The Tahs kick chase was awful, but the actual kicks were better.

          I don’t think a pocket 10 is what Rennie will be looking for, but I think Harrison has started playing the role better at last.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Seems odd for me to be defending a Waratah, but I would actually rate Harrison’s efforts over the season a little better than you. I didn’t think he was obviously better today than previously, although that might be because it was easier for him to shine in such a poor side over the season.

          I agree totally with your last sentence. He has a very good running game already, but he needs to show more of a willingness (ability?) to take the ball into contact and then distribute.

          Thought he was fairly comfortably outplayed by Lolesio today, but I guess I would say that. What do you think?

        • I’m not sure that Harrison needs to develop the take the ball into contact side of his game. He probably does if he wants to play at international level, but I think the Tahs could build a successful franchise around him even if he doesn’t develop that way.

          I think it’s really hard to pick between Lolesio and Harrison. My gut says Lolesio had a better game. Then my head kicks in and says the Brumbies ruled the breakdown, ruled front foot ball for their half backs and Lolesio looked good… while hardly ever under real pressure for extended periods of the game. Meanwhile, for a 10 who was under pressure for huge chunks of the game, I thought Harrison looked decent. Chalk and cheese.

          We haven’t seen enough from Harrison to make me take him to a Wallabies training camp. I don’t think his style of play is right for the modern game. I would still start Toomua and give Lolesio (and Campbell if either he can fix his kicking issues or you can squeeze an alternate kicker into the 15) extended runs off the bench to see how they hold up under the intensity of a test match for this year. And I guess that’s the final arbiter. Lolesio might well be wearing the G&G 10 jersey in France in 2023. I’ll be stunned based on what we’ve seen this year if Harrison is. This match didn’t really change that opinion.

        • Brumby Runner

          Harrison was very good at the U20s world cup, and has been ok to good at NRC and Super level. But I’m really getting sick and tired of people (and there are many) who constantly excuse any less than effective involvements on playing behind a beaten pack. The argument seems to imply that the player concerned would undoubtedly be better than the alternatives if they played behind a better pack.

          As for yesterday’s game, the Tahs scrum was at least the equal of the Brumbies, maybe better, and the lineout was fairly even. The Brumbies forwards won the contact at the breakdown, but there wasn’t a whole lot of disparity between the two packs. Even at set piece time, Harrison was not as effective as Lolesio in managing the team’s attack. There is no evidence he would have performed better if he’d played behind the Brumbies pack (though if he did, I’d put it down to better coaching and game plan).

          The same arguments get rolled out frequently to suggest No 9s and No 10s who are under performing would be the best in the country if they played behind some other pack.

        • There are typically 200+ breakdowns in a match, and rarely as many as 50 scrums completed and lineouts combined. So while I agree the Tahs were at least equal to, if not better than, the Brumbies at set piece dominating at breakdowns still gives you a significant edge.

          I can’t agree with you characterising it as making excuses for half backs about how the forwards do. Can I suggest looking at the Hurricanes over the last few years for an example of this at SR rugby level. If their pack gets at least parity, Perenara and Barrett look like superstars. Against sides that can dominate their pack – some of the S African sides bug most reliably the Saders, they look really ordinary. The players don’t change but the quality of ball they get does. You can look further abroad at Ireland if you want a more classic 9 and 10 and how Wales last year and England last year and this year shut down Murray and Sexton by dominating the breakdowns.

          Would Harrison be a superstar behind a dominant pack? I doubt it, because the modern superstar 10’s play flatter than I’ve seen him play. But he can run a back line at a decent level and he’s started kicking well from hand and he’d look better behind a better pack because every 10 does.

        • Brumby Runner

          Eloise, you made the statement that it is really hard to pick between Lolesio and Harrison. You went on to say that Lolesio benefited from the Brumbies pack being dominant at the breakdown, and that Harrison looked decent even though under pressure.

          My point is that is merely speculation that Harrison would have been as good as or better than Lolesio had he played behind the Brumbies pack while it was clear that Lolesio actually played better than Harrison even though the Tahs scrum and lineout were better or at least equal. That speculation has no evidence to support it, merely wishful thinking.

          The evidence that Lolesio had a better game is in the better performance of the Brumbies backline attack from set play where they didn’t have dominance. See, for instance, the last try by the Brumbies. Outstanding but indicative of the better organised and managed backline play which was largely attributable to Lolesio (in combination with Simone).

        • While I agree it’s hypothetical to suggest a good pack can improve the performance of a 10 and/or a badly performing one can make them look bad, there are too many pieces of evidence to support the observation that you can’t make a decent working hypothesis of it, in the formal scientific sense.

          That doesn’t guarantee Harrison fits the pattern, he might just be mediocre. He had a talented group around him at U20, and as a group they helped him looked better.

          I think I’ve also pushed a button of yours. Which I’m not going to apologise for I think you’re broadly wrong on the issue, but I think you stopped reading the whole sentence. I went on to say I thought the reason my head found it hard to say which was better was because Harrison played under pressure for most of the game while Lolesio rarely did. I’d apply that to the final try too.

          You may disagree that makes a difference but you asked my opinion and IMO it does so I find it hard to make a call.

      • Brisneyland Local


    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Mate I was thinking of you watching this. You must be wrapped. The Tahs really are poor and I feel for Harrison as he’s playing bloody well but doesn’t look as good as others because the rest of his team is so poor. I was hoping of more from Hunt but he’s way past his best this season

      • Brisneyland Local

        I will give Hunt his credit. He was busting his ass 100%. But cant carry the whole team. And as they say it is hard to saor with eagles when you are surrounded by Waratahs!

    • Keith Butler

      I was indeed a good game to watch. Pretty good reffing from Rasta particularly warning players not to try milking pens. Real pleased to see Cadeyrn Neville string good games together. Really rated him at the Rebs but they let him go.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I loved Rasta’s warnings. There was a constant state of commentary, so it is not like players didnt know what was going on.

  • Hoss

    Said to a mate – two things:

    1. I blame SANZAAR. The games need to be 40 minutes in duration and Tah’s will be right at the pointy end

    2. The Tah’s played as well as they can and there-in lies the crux of the matter.

    To all, stay safe over coming weeks, stay sane and keep an eye out for fellow Aussies who need a leg up.


    • Human

      Or a leg over.

      • Greg

        hmmm…. I didn’t see that coming.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Take care mate

    • Rugby Truth

      2020 will go down as a good season for the Horror-Tahs – only losing 5 games

  • Human

    …Or a leg over. Too many thumbs…meant to reply to Hoss.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    I know this going to upset some but I thought a big reason for the win was the Brumbies dominance at the breakdown. I think it’s time to look past Hooper for the Wallabies. Yeah he’s got a great motor, tons of enthusiasm and gives 100% every game. But his ineffectiveness at the breakdown is part of why this game was lost. I think Liam Wright is far more effective and give him a good 6&8 for a balanced loose trio and I think the Wallabies will be far more dangerous

    • Rugby Truth

      I’ve said it for years, the demise of the waratahs – and subsequently the wallabies – coincides with hooper being picked at #7.
      he has absolutely no breakdown presence at all.
      his is incredibly inaccurate at the breakdown – he misses his man 99% of the time.
      there was many in yesterday’s game. hooper arriving 1st for the waratahs at the breakdown, only to miss his man by trying to cleanout from the outside, resulting in driving the Brumbies player back over the waratahs ball and for Rasta to say; “you put him there!”
      another telling fact is although hooper may make 15 tackles per game, the majority are passive tackles – ie: allowing the attackers to get well beyond the advantage – resulting in the Brumbies (and all oppositions) getting fast front foot ball. Lying on the ground holding 1 leg may get counted as a successful tackle stat, but in reality his weak contribution is a major factor in the demise of the waratahs and wallabies.
      as far as having a good motor and enthusiasm, I would to if I ran around all day doing nothing. hooper is akin to a dog chasing seagulls on the beach. Plus, the amount of time the waratahs need “something”, hooper is shaking hands with the linesman on the sideline – that’s $6million of value NOT!!!!!

      The Wallabies need to ditch hooper.
      Liam Wright has to be the Wallabies #7 – no question.

      • servo

        The thing is Hooper used to play like a real 7. I remember his last season with the Brumbies was amazing and he pilfered. Finally stepped out of Smith’s shadow and made the jumper his. Then moved to the Tahs and started to lose that trade. Apart from Waugh, the Tahs really haven’t developed a standout 7. I’m still not convinced about Miller either, I think Samu does more as a 6 than him as a 7.

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