The Brumbies have pulled off a famous victory win over the Bulls 38-28 in Pretoria in arguably their best display this season for the first Aussie team to win in South Africa in 2018. Whilst not in the same territory as the 2013 Semi final at the same venue, it was still a massive win as for the second week in a row the Brumbies went down to 14 men for the final quarter following a red card to hooker Folau Fainga’a that could very well cost him a Wallabies call up next week.
But unlike last week when they got over run by the Lions, the Brumbies last 20 minutes was immense as they lifted as a team with late tries to man-of-the-match Tom Banks and winger Andy Muirhead sealing the win.
The Brumbies can be proud of their maul defence and scrum which dominated their opponents throughout and kept repelling the Bulls attacking platform in the maul.
It was the Bulls on the board first after a frantic opening five minutes with Handre Pollard staking his claims for Springbok selection as he slipped through a bad missed tackle from Scott Sio and Sam Carter to score the opening try and convert his own try for a 7-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Bulls made a handling error right off the restart on their own 22 and David Pocock passed to Kyle Godwin and he went through a gap to reply for the Brumbies to level it up at 7-7 following Christian Lealiifano’s conversion.
The opening scrums were a good battle with Scott Sio getting the upper hand against his tight head opponent and rewarded with a penalty.
Lealiifano made up for an earlier penalty miss from a handy position to put the Brumbies in front at 10-7 as their wide play started to find gaps in the Bulls defensive line with Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight starting to get involved.
The lead wouldn’t last for long with the Bulls hitting back with some expansive play of their own down their left wing from Johnny Kotze before flanker Roelof Smit broke through one tackle on the right side and had enough power to get over the line.
The Brumbies were under real pressure around the 30-minute mark but survived that scare by defending a maul five metres out to win a turnover but again some poor execution, this time from a box kick, put them back under pressure.
The Bulls received numerous penalties in the Brumbies 22 that were kickable opportunities but declined them all but came up empty as the Brumbies maul defence held strong to got them out of trouble.
Just before the break the Brumbies almost scored from long range but it was that final option that went begging with handling errors the order of the day and combined with a penalty goal miss from Lealiifano, the half time score stayed at 14-10 even with the Brumbies only with 19% territory.
The Second half started off well for the Brumbies with a try to Lachlan McCaffrey within three minutes of the resumption. Another maul defensive play followed by a scrum penalty gave the Brumbies good attacking position and Joe Powell found a small gap and found McCaffrey for the try.
The scrum lottery battle continued with the Bulls coming up with the winning numbers for once and Pollard’s penalty again leveled the scores at 17-17.
They went back in front with a try to Johnny Kotze that was setup by the hot stepping Warrick Gelant as the Brumbies discipline started to let them down with some easy outs for the Bulls that allowed the margin to stretch out to eight points with another Pollard penalty goal.
It seemed that neither team wanted to take control with the Brumbies the next to score from close range to Folau Fainga’a following a series of pick and go’s as they had the Bulls on the back foot and the margin just one point with 20 minutes remaining.
But Fainga’a then undid all his good work by being the second Brumbies player to receive a red card on tour, this time for a head butt on a Bulls player after taking exception to some words said after being penalised for diving in dangerously to a ruck after referee Marius van der Westhuizen had consulted with the TMO.
Folau Fainga’a’s red card… pic.twitter.com/DcVNykQrvz
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) May 26, 2018
Even down to 14 men, the Brumbies went in front from a brilliant individual try to fullback Tom Banks after he collected the ball on his own 22 and found a gap to burn the Bulls defence and with Hawera’s conversion, they held a slender 3 point lead.
The comeback was complete just minutes later as Andy Muirhead sealed a famous win with a try in the left corner as the Brumbies ran out 38-28 winners for a remarkable win in a remarkable game.
The Game Changer
Just like last week, around the 60 minute mark the Brumbies went down to 14 men following a brain snap from Fainga’a to get himself sent off but what happened after that should be spoken about for a long time
The G&GR MOTM
Tom Banks – saved his side on numerous times throughout the game and his try late on won the game in the famous victory
Scott Sio had a better week at scrum this time around and put his opponent under pressure. David Pocock was his usual best to win some crucial turnovers at the ruck. Tevita Kuridrani has been getting more involved in recent weeks and linked well with Henry Speight in attack.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Godwin, McCaffrey, Fainga’a, Banks, Muirhead
Conversions: Lealiifano 3, Hawera 2
Tries: Pollard, Smit, Kotze
Conversions: Pollard 2
Penalties: Pollard 3
61 mins – Fainga’a (Brumbies) – Red