Brumbies slice up the Sunwolves - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies slice up the Sunwolves

Brumbies slice up the Sunwolves

The Brumbies have moved to the top of the Australian Conference following a 33-0 bonus point win over the Sunwolves in Canberra this afternoon.

A double to Henry Speight and tries to Joe Powell, Tom Banks and Pete Samu sealed the win but even more pleasing to coach Dan McKellar would have been the manner in which they were scored following criticism of their win over the Blues last week and equally keeping an opponent to nil for the first time since 2015.

The Sunwolves certainly had their chances in the game but just couldn’t execute with the ball as tries went begging from poor handling or couldn’t crack the dogged Brumbies defence, with one sequence saw them come up with nothing after 20 phases on the Brumbies line.

The Match

In the afternoon sunshine, the Sunwolves looked to have scored after just two minutes to winger Gerhard van den Heever but a look from the TMO on the advice of Assistant referee Angus Gardner saw that his foot brushed the line under pressure from Joe Powell. Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus.

Both sides had obvious game plans to kick the ball with the Sunwolves prepared to chip kick over the rushing Brumbies defence while Joe Powell was resorting to box kicks, with mixed results.

It took until the 13th minute for the scorer to be troubled as the Brumbies launched a counter attack down their right wing as Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani combined before Speight scored the opening try.

The home fans only had to wait two minutes for the second try and again it was their right side attack which all started from Tom Banks earning a turnover with the Sunwolves looking to score before Kuridrani again found himself in space before offloading to Joe Powell for an easy run to the line and a 14-0 lead.

The Sunwolves were able to do something few teams had this season as they managed to twice disrupt the rolling maul tactic of the Brumbies but with defenders committed, it left space out wide for Speight’s second try.

Around the 30 minute mark the visitors looked to be getting something going on the back of penalties but their attempt at the rolling maul was let down by poor handling, which summed up their overall game and continued the Brumbies record of not conceding from a rolling maul.

Embed from Getty Images

The Sunwolves looked to come up with something early in the second half but their attack was too easy for the Brumbies defence to break down.

The Brumbies went further in front after 50 minutes with a brilliant first-phase try started from 40 metres out to Tom Banks that was setup by Speight hitting the gap before putting Banks over in the left corner.

It was a five-minute period not long after that pretty much summed up the Sunwolves game. First, van den Heever was bundled into touch, again, followed by multiple sequences of phases camped on the Brumbies line but came up empty and suffered the sucker punch as Pete Samu rubbed salt into the wounds up the other end for a five-pointer with another Kuridrani try assist to make it 33-0.

The Brumbies emptied the bench with 15 to go but couldn’t add any more points but head into the bye full of confidence after four wins in the last five games.

After the week off the Brumbies play the Bulls in a home fixture followed by three more important conference games against the Sunwolves (a), Waratahs (a) and the Reds at home.

The Game Changer

No real moment stood out but after two tries in as many minutes in the first half was enough for the Brumbies to run away with the win.


Henry Speight in a photo finish with Pete Samu. Samu scored one try and work around the ruck was impressive but Speight’s two tries and assist for Banks’ try plus 8 runs for 131 metres.

Wallaby Watch

Tevita Kuridrani returned from a minor knee injury and had two try assists and 96 metres from 9 runs. Tom Banks put in his usual shift with a try and some important tackles.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Speight 2, Banks, Powell, Samu
Conversions: Lealiifano 4



  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Good wrap up. More and more, I feel like Speight is pushing for a Wallabies recall. Some of his defence last year was diabolical, but to his credit he has worked hard on it has improved.

    Kerevi-TK just has to be our Wallaby centres. Have to select a 10 and 15 that can work with those centres. Quade and DHP?

    • Bernie Chan

      Only if common sense has a role to play…Meakes and Toomua as the back up #12s..

    • Huw Tindall

      None of our wingers are carving it up and right now I’d rather take 3 * 15s even though I’m loathe to pick out of position. DHP/Hodge/Banks with Beale on the pine.

      If I had to have pick wingers though I’d think Speight and Cam Clark are the most consistent. Not sold on Maddocks as a winger despite his tries this year on the end of Genia and Cooper cut out passes.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I think Speight has been pretty good, and he contributes so much at the breakdown and in defence.

        • Geoffro

          Henry has been pretty good from what I’ve seen of him this year and brings a whole lot of smarts as a specialist winger compared some of the others not to mention Korobeite who is abysmal.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          How did Wessels keep Koroibete but let Naivalu go?

          Or Cheika take Koroibete on that spring tour in 2016, but leave Morahan at home?

          Fair dinkum.

        • Geoffro

          I think they all figure he has the raw talent if only he could learn the game.The fact he hasn’t by now……should go back to league.

    • Brisneyland Local


  • Steve

    Really impressive scores by the Brumbies, with Kuridrani involved at key points in 3 of them. He looked that much better for his week off, our best 13 by the length of the straight at this point.
    With no back three players really standing above the others so far, both Banks and Speight should really be included in the Wallabies setup this year. Banks in particular has really earned some game time – the only 15 who genuinely has the triple threat of running, kicking and passing (oh, and defending).

    For the first time in a few years I think that most of the Wallabies 23 is actually filled with players who really deserve to play (particularly in the forward pack), not just picking the best of a mediocre bunch.
    Unfortunately one of the positions where that isn’t true continues to be 10, and that hurts us a lot.
    At this point Cooper is pretty much picked by virtue of being the best complement to Kerevi/Kuridrani in the centres, but being pretty lacklustre the last few rounds hasn’t really helped his cause.

    If the opening team doesn’t look more or less like the below (* denoting some flexibility) I think most of us will be pretty aggrieved.

    1. Slipper/Sio
    2. FF
    3. AAAAAAA
    4. Rodda
    5. Arnold
    6. Jones
    7. Hooper/Poey
    8. Isi*
    9. Genia
    10. Cooper*
    11. Beale
    12. Kerevi
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Speight*
    15. Banks
    16. Damien Fitz*
    17. Slipper/Sio
    18. Thor
    19. Coleman*
    20. Hooper/Poey/McCaff*
    21. Powell
    22. Toomua*
    23. Hodge*

    • Patrick

      Yep, unfortunately I am expecting to be with the most of us in being pretty aggrieved when Kepu, Hanigan, Dempsey, Foley, Hunt and Clarke are all there instead and Hooper is somehow captain again with Foley VC


      • Brisneyland Local

        I think we will all be aggrieved Patrick!

        • Patrick

          Here’s hoping!

        • Brisneyland Local

          It is always good to be aggrieved. ;-)

    • Huw Tindall

      Nice team mate. Will be something like that I think. Would be picking Phillip over Coleman or LSL at this stage though and still pick Kepu on bench or start for his big game experience which is what a RWC is all about.

      • Steve

        I could live with Kepu/Phillip Huw, and some reshuffling of the back three as no-one is really standing above the others right now – Like most I just fear wholesale messing around with the pack and midfield where some players have really put their hands up.

      • Brisneyland Local

        HT, we hope it is, and it should be. But we have to take into consideration the Cheika factor.

      • Brumby Runner

        Presumably, you’d have Kepu in place of Tupou? Can’t see AAT not starting when fit.

        Personally, I’d still go with AAT and TT in the big matches.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah Thor misses out. Plenty of world cups in that lads future.

          I’d start whoever is in best form at the time so will see how rest of Super and TRC plays out but currently 7As is in front.

    • I thought so too about that first rolling maul and sitting down that end you could see the Sunwolves entering from the side but Murphy did nothing about it. But the good thing is they showed they can score tries in different ways and not rely on plan A

  • Nutta

    Horses for courses. The Donkeys maul proved the decisive weapon last week and this week – against an opposition who well handled the maul – they ran instead. Great switching of game plan.

    Throw in a scrum that just keeps getting better and you have a really well balanced outfit. Where has this been all year?

    Great to see the K’train back on track along with Speight rediscovering some true attacking form outside him and if Tom Banks isn’t the national 15 after the last couple of weeks effort then it truely is a scam. Pete Samu also has capped off 3-4wks of really good form and plugged the hole left by McCafe’s untimely injury. My only worry is Joe still seems slow clearing the ball.

    Hope Poey is back soon.

    • Brisneyland Local

      For once we seem to have an abundance of players in form competing for positions. The questions is my learned friend, will the Ass Clown pick them!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Foley played one good match a few weeks ago and Beale hasn’t been shit (I watched the Tahs replay, he was good but not great), so they’re bound to be locks.

        I’m sure he will also find a way to shore horn in Koroibete.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think criticisms can be made of Powell’s game, but speed to the ruck, making decisions and then clearing wouldn’t be one of them.

      • Nutta

        He does get their pretty quick and he seems to make balanced decisions. However to me there is a distinct impression there is a 2-3sec delay in actually making the pass. It’s not quite ‘have a cuppa tea’ but it’s enough to let good defences realign. Perhaps it’s not him – perhaps he’s struggling to locate the 1st receiver because to traffic in the channel. But there is lost time there and he wears the 9… It’s a bit like the 2 generally cops the blame for crap lineouts when there are lifters, jumpers and opponents all doing their bits too.

  • Keith Butler

    Brumbies hitting their straps at just the right time. I reckon they might just nick the conference with the other Aussie teams in a dogfight to see if they can make the final cut.

    • Geoffro

      Couldn’t agree more and when Pocock,Arnold and Mcaffrey return I think they’ll be hard to hold out.

  • Brumby Runner

    Some outstanding highlights in yesterday’s match. The Brumbies’ defense was impressive, keeping out one of the best attacking sides in the competition.

    Some excellent interplay between the backs, especially Simone, Kuridrani and Speight.

    Individually, Banks had an outstanding game at the back. Safe, in position and very strong in defense. Is always a threat to the opposition defenses too.

    Kuridrani and Speight showing some excellent form. How good is it to see Tevita making line breaks and setting up tries. And he was a monster in defense, hitting hard and often.

    Simone has great hands. His pass to put Speight into the clear was magic. He is starting to look good in combination with Christian, who again had a strong game.

    On his recent games, Joe Powell is the form No 9 in the Aussie conference. He consistently tops the tackle count for No9s and he’s not afraid to get stuck in at ruck time when needed. His willingness to get into the tough stuff saved the Brumbies on one occasion when he supported Banks (I think) just a metre or so from the tryline in what could well have been a Sunwolves try otherwise. It is not hard to imagine Will Genia in the same circumstances just standing back waving his arms and abusing team mates while allowing the ball to be turned over. Joe’s tackle on Van Den Heever to force him over the dead ball instead of scoring was excellent. He also showed a good step and pace in scoring his own try. Very close to a MOTM performance.

    The forwards are an especially strong unit and will dominate most other sets in the whole competition. And that’s without their first choice back row, including the worlds best No 7, and with Arnold also missing. The absence of Rory was the difference between the rolling maul scoring tries and not, imo. He is the best maul practitioner in both attack and defense in the country. Darcy Swain is an excellent backup but doesn’t quite have Rory’s presence atm.

    The front row speaks for itself. Easily one of the best combinations in the whole SR competition, and probably beyond that too.

    If they keep up their present form, they will be a threat in the finals next month.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Crazy that Powell probably won’t be starting next year, with White returning.

      We need to top the conference to be a threat for the finals, and coming second rather than third will be huge also.

    • Nutta

      I heard somewhere that Sam Carter tops the Super Rugby tackle count? is that for real?

      • It’s just for the Brumbies.

        Before this round, Opta has Michael Hooper leading the whole comp with 148 and Carter on 112.

        • Wallabrumby

          Carter has missed 2 games right?

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