Match review of the Brumbies vs Reds 2013
ACT Brumbies

Match Review: Brumbies v. Reds – The Big Bash!

Match Review: Brumbies v. Reds – The Big Bash!

Rarely has the opening game of a season excited the supporters as much as this Brumbies vs Reds game has. Reds fans were flocking to Canberra to watch their team reassert their dominance of the Australian conference, while Brumbies supporters were not-so-quietly talking their sides chances up.

Could the Reds climb to the top of the Super Rugby ladder again? Could the Brumbies improve and make the finals? 

The Match

The Brumbies have started the year with a two-try win in Canberra, defeating the Queensland Reds 24-6.

From the opening moments it was clear that both teams wanted this one badly. To say the breakdown contest was willing is the understatement of the year.



The Reds scored first from a long range penalty shot from a ruck infringement. This started a theme for the night with about 19 of the 21 penalties in the game awarded for ruck infringements. It could be the ref or the player or both but it’s didn’t help the spectacle.

Jesse Mogg scored next off a pretty chip from White after the Brumbies moved down to the Reds’ half off another ruck penalty.

The sides traded huge hits in the ruck, shots at goal and niggle for the rest of the half.

The second half saw the niggle settle down but the penalty shots and work at the ruck continued. The Brumbies were the first, and perhaps only, side to adapt to the referee and it started to show as the steady stream of penalty shots pushed the lead out beyond 7 points.

Danced and stung like a butterfly

Danced and stung like a butterfly

The Reds, sensing the game was slipping away, started to run the ball from everywhere in the final quarter. But a combination of dropped ball, isolated players and just plan old defence from the Brumbies saw the Reds come away with nothing despite making serious metreage with the ball in hand. The Brumbies simply kicked the ball deep into the Reds’ half, forcing the Queenslanders to run it back at them.

Late in the second half Mogg scored his second try from an intercepted Quade Cooper pass as the Reds desperately tried one last attempt to salvage a point from the match.

A well-deserved win from the Canberra side who had the better of the scrum battle and finished slightly on top at ruck and mauls. Neither backline was given any room to operate but few rugby fans would walk away disappointed from this game.

The Game Changer

About 65 minutes into the game the Reds had moved the ball from their own 22 into the Brumbies’ 22 with a series of good runs from both backs and forwards. The Reds had set up a ruck on the 22 metre line and were shooting forwards off the side with a series of pick and drives. David Pocock calmly sits back and calmly picks his moment to attack the ball and wins a legitimate ruck penalty for his team snuff out Queensland’s best passage of play.

A special mention for referee Andrew Lees who snuffed out many passages of play from both teams for the vaguest reasons.

The G&GR MoM

In a game where no one played badly it’s hard to pick one player above the others. Jesse Mogg scored two tries, kicked two goals, kicked well in general play and was safe in defence. He is this game’s Man of the Match.

Wallaby watch

Quade Cooper was quiet but slowly worked his way into the game as the match wore on. Lealiifano, while also quiet, would also be pretty happy with his return to Super Rugby. Clyde Rathbone justified his place in the starting lineup and could play his way into Wallabies contention later in the year.

pocock and rathbone

Rattlebones is back

The Details

Score: 24-6

The Brumbies: J. Mogg (2 tries, 2 penalties), N. White (2 penalties), R. Coleman (1 conversion)

The Reds: M. Harris (2 penalties)

Referee: Andrew Lees
Sideline Officials: James Leckie, Ian Smith
Video Referee: Matt Goddard
Crowd: 17,058

  • Robson

    For a while both teams seemed to cancel each other out, but the edge was certainly captured, then held and finally capitalised on by the Brumbies. The Reds looked strangely disjointed throughout the match. Good to see Rathbone back and looking fit and toned too.

    • Johnny-boy

      It’s surprising how little mention is made of the kicks for goal Harris missed, which is very unusual for him and if you add those and take away the hail mary Cooper threw for the final try going for bonus points it was a much closer game than indicated by the scoreline.

      • Robson

        Yeah it certainly was a pretty close game and the Harris misses didn’t help the Reds cause at all, but nor were they (the Reds) as accurate as they could have been.

  • Gallagher

    Despite the reds losing, that was a great match to watch for round 1, high quality game plans, ruck work was awesome to watch, thought gill bettered pocock in first half, cooper was solid, brumbs are def the real deal this year!

  • Old Weary

    I thought a great passionate game to open the season, but really hope the ref’s don’t blow up ruck ‘infringements’ like that the whole season. Some of the penalties were crazy

  • Bobas

    J.Mogg the new J.Roff?

  • spikhaza

    The Ref made some poor decisions around the ruck. He blew up for way too many minor infringements for both sides. The first half was a classic example of the insipid directionless rugby we all hate. Here’s hoping the quality improves

    • Barbarian

      I thought he was OK. Don’t mind seeing a bit of pedantry in the first few rounds, will hopefully pay off as the comp wears on and teams adapt.

      • Watching at the ground, it was impossible to work out what some of the penalties in the second half were for, even with his signals! He really stopped any sort of flow from developing in the second half with his penalties every third or fourth ruck. It was going both ways, and people in the crowd around me were getting very frustrated (so this is not just coming from a one-eyed Reds fan!)

        • Merrow

          I was at the ground and had no problems in knowing why players were being penalised – it was on the big screen. If the the player was off his feet, that’s what it said on the screen. Great idea for those like me who don’t have a clue what the signals mean anyway.

  • Johnny-boy

    Bloody Mogg. Get back to Queensland, immediately ! Impressive by the Brumbies. Their tackling was rugged, no doubt courtesy of Brian Smiths influence and shows a similar influence to when Muggelton arrived on the scene. I wonder whether they will be able to keep it up all season tho as the game appears far more brutal these days and there are so many other things to do as well. I recall the Highlanders starting with all guns blazing a couple of seasons ago only to fade later on. Unfortunately the Reds typically start the season slow but at least McKenzie isnt trying to be too clever this year. He knows it’s a long hard ardous season and pacing yourself is crucial. Like myself, he’s not as dumb as he looks :).

  • A game which never really burst into life and was a real scrappy, tight affair especially at the breakdown. Some top notch defence however and some really physical stuff going on. Lets just hope that both teams maintain this stoic defence against the SA and NZ teams! not just when competing in Aussie derbys..

    Thought the reds were disappointing, offered very little in attack, though i think the Brumbies defence deserves great credit for that. Simmons stood out for me as someone who looked pretty ineffective and irritatingly continues to be a real penalty magnet. Diggers looked hungry but there were too many around him going MIA

    Pocock was as impressive as ever. Speight (some great catches) and Mogg looked dangerous all night. No doubt JW will have them practicing their kicking this week as they should have won by alot more

  • JimmyC

    Anyone impressed as much as I was with Eddie Quirk? I thought Gill beat Pocock in the first half too. Great defence inside Coopers channel from those two. If Shatz steps it up like he did towards the end of last season wow look out.

  • Scotty

    Pocock copped a rubbish call earlier in the game, but I actually think he got away with one in that penalty he won around the 70th minute when the Reds were on attack. He came into the tackle so fast and at such an angle that there is no way he initial held his own weight. He clearly used his elbows to support himself on the tackled player before then reaching the ball. A lot of players do this, but this one was particularly obious.

  • Refereesrthebaneofmyexistance.

    The referee Andrew Lees was atrocious. Just pathetic. I can’t even say he was pedantic because that implies minor but definite infringement. He frequently penalised non events. Where do these people come from and why is there a continuous line of Kaplan / Lawrence clones.

  • Larkhage

    on top of this – i’m liking the ladder this week!

ACT Brumbies

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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