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.
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.
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.
The G&GR MOTM
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.
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.
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