Brumbies with a hard fought win over a determined Force - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies with a hard fought win over a determined Force

Brumbies with a hard fought win over a determined Force

The Brumbies had to make hard work it against a determined Western Force side but eventually came away with a 31-14 win in Canberra and secure top spot in Super Rugby AU standing and the right to host the final on September 19.

The Force may not have won a game yet in Super Rugby AU but they dominated the opening 25 minutes of the game with a mix of strong forwards play and pressuring the Brumbies into mistakes to stifle their play in a game that was nowhere near as comfortable for the Brumbies as the final score suggested.

The try scoring form of Tom Wright continued and tries from Tom Banks, Will Miller, Andy Muirhead and replacement Len Ikitau rounded out the Brumbies win. For the Force Fergus Lee-Warner and Jono Lance found the line but they would be disappointed they couldn’t come away with a big scalp with an upset win after looking so dominant for the majority of the opening half.

The Match

It wasn’t a great start for the Force after they dropped the kickoff but they did well to recover and even put the Brumbies under pressure on their own line for the opening 10 minutes.

Armed with a strong scrum and solid contact around the ruck from the back row and Henry Stowers in particular, the Force worked patiently through the forwards to make it tough for the Brumbies defence and eventually Fergus Lee-Warner scored a well worked opening try. Ian Prior’s conversion made it 7-0.

Despite not having won a game in Super Rugby AU, the Force continued to dominate the territory and possession to frustrate the Brumbies who really struggled to get anything going in the opening 20 minutes.

The Force did well to disrupt any platform for the Brumbies with their wide rush defence and pressure on Joe Powell making it hard to get the backline into the game.

When they did finally get something going in the Force 22, it was a lack of execution that let them down with attempted offloads and general passing game not hitting the mark to let the Force off the hook.

The Brumbies finally got close to the Force line and looked to have finally scored in the 27th minute from close range to Allan Alaalatoa but that was ruled out by the TMO and referee Amy Perrett who took the whistle for the first time at Super Rugby level.

And then less than 2 minutes later, they had another try ruled out for obstruction by Joe Powell as Tom Banks made a break and offloaded to deny Andy Muirhead that could be considered a square up for last week.

It was third time lucky for the Brumbies on the 33 minute mark as Tom Wright continued his hot try scoring form after an unconventional method of letting a Force bomb bounce and Solomone Kata collected the ball to find Will Miller who found Wright to send him on his way to the line to make it 7-5.

That seemed to spark the Brumbies out of their slump with the penalties racking up against the Force to give the Brumbies easy field position. The work from the Force forwards had done well to disrupt the Brumbies ball but a change their tactics to not contest the lineout and defend the maul allowed space out wide and Tom Banks finally broke the shackles and a 167 day drought to score the Brumbies second to put them in front at 10-7.

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The Force pack seemed intent on matching their rolling maul with their opponents and declined a shot at penalty goal early in the second half that would have levelled the scores, but the Brumbies maul defence stood up to the task to get them out of trouble.

Back-to-back penalties followed that to give the Brumbies good field position and 4 changes with Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a, Rob Valetini and Nic White into the fold at the 50-minute mark.

The quick ball was too much for the Force to defend and White found Will Miller on the left wing to give the Brumbies some breathing room at 17-7 after Bayley Kuenzle’s sideline conversion.

It only took 4 minutes for the Force got back into the game with their own back-to-back penalties and Jono Lance attacked the line and squeezed his way through the defence of Kata to reduce the margin to 3 after Prior’s conversion.

But the discipline problems continued for the Force to get the Brumbies a leg up the field and the pace and quick passing from White had the Force on the back foot and it allowed Len Ikitau to score his first Brumbies try and Kuenzle’s conversion restored the 10 point margin at the 65 minute mark.

It then took until the last 6 minutes for the Brumbies to put the game to bed with Andy Muirhead getting on the scorers list after swooping on an Irae Simone grubber kick ahead of Tom Banks and Kyle Godwim to get the nod from the TMO and another Kuenzle conversion made it 31-14.

The Brumbies looked to have scored right on the full time siren through a rolling maul try to Folau Fainga’a but a technical penalty on Will Miller in the transfer of the ball ruled out a third try but they still ran out 17 point winners in a hard fought win and will head to Brisbane next week to take on the Reds while the Force take on the Melbourne Rebels as part of a double header next Saturday.

The Game Changer

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar made 4 changes at the 50-minute mark that were instrumental in the win. Nic White’s experience raised the pace of the game and assists for Miller and Ikitau’s tries saw them home.


It was a tough win for the home side but Tom Wright continues to impress and added another try to his tally in 2020.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Tries: Wright, Banks, Miller, Ikitau, Muirhead
Conversions: Kuenzle 3
Tries: Lee-Warner, Lance
Conversions: Prior 2



  • Brumby Runner

    Good summary Steve.

    Heartening to see Tom Banks running back into good form. Banks, Wright, Muirhead, Simone, Keunzle, White all had strong games out back while Len Ikitau looked the goods too when he came on.

    Force scrum surprisingly held the Brumbies pack for most of the game, but the inclusion of Sio and Fainga’a changed the balance later in the game.

    Neville looks like he’s ready to wear Gold if the international season gets underway.

    Lee-Warner again stood out for the Force. Have been singing his praises for at least two years now. Good to see others are now rather belatedly also recognising his talent.

    • Steve

      Yep, I think all the big names had good games today. The tries that got piled on towards the end seemed like a pretty clinical exercise, I was reminded of Hoss’ comment after the Waratahs game last week.

      McKellar has a difficult motivational exercise on his hands now. How does he get his team over a dead rubber next week to make sure they’re back on top for the final?

      I would be trying to play a team that was as close as possible to my finals team, given the depth of the squad the can cover an injury or two.

      • Brumby Runner

        Yep, I reckon that’s what he’ll do.

  • Timbo

    Interesting to hear Kahui complaining to Amy Perrett that Banks was covered in Vaseline. If that has even a hint of truth, that is incredibly poor sportsmanship. I did notice at the start of the match his legs and calves looked wet as if it was raining at the game. It’s been dry here in Canberra all day.

    • Custardtaht

      Are we sure it it was vaseline……….some men like a woman in uniform!

      • Geoffro

        That’d probably stop me from trying to tackle him

    • interesting point re; Banks, needs to be looked into.
      If he is innocent then that needs to be stated.
      Noone would want that against their name surely.

      • Timbo

        For mine, Kahui has nothing to prove by making it up. He’s at the end of his career and strikes me as a solid guy who plays hard but fair. Was filthy with himself for giving away an ‘off his feet’ penalty.
        Agreed however. If it wasn’t true then something needs to be said. Both ways

        • Re-watched the game not ago, Perrett does take a good look at Banks legs after the complaint.
          See your point about the leg shine too.
          As you say, both ways.

        • Timbo

          This was taken 5 min in. His entire bottom half is slick with something. That is pretty disgusting tactics in my opinion.

        • doesnt look good does it.

        • Timbo

          What does RA do about it though? That’s clearly not playing within the spirit of the game

        • Probably ask them in to be a sponsor.
          No idea really Timbo. Just hope its sorted

        • Custardtaht

          The other thing it could be is the “Dew” which is always pretty bad in Aus.

        • Geoffro

          He could just be a sweaty bastard too

        • heh, a fullback sweating.
          Likely scenario

        • Slim 293

          Hopefully RA will make Tom Banks’ shiny legs a priority, and have a detailed report put out after the weekend. This is scandalous stuff… truly shocking, outrageous, disgusting, abhorrent behaviour.

        • tbh I’d hope they would Slim.
          If Banks has a reason, so be it.

        • Custardtaht

          Honestly, being oiled up and chased around is pretty normal for a Friday night.

        • yeah, but we are hoping to be caught.

        • Slim 293

          And who’s that on the grassy knoll?

        • Geoffro

          Cut it out,I just spilt me drink on myself

        • Custardtaht

          I watched a show on netflix that answers this… was Number 5.

        • Geoffro

          Back in my playing days (70s /80s) everybody used swathes of vaso to combat the cold and shitty playing surfaces.Never thought it gave an advantage in particular ie:making someone more difficult to tackle.Could make the ball slippery these days but we were still using leather balls mostly then

        • Not sure where your from Geoffro, but we wore clothes, maybe shoulda looked into it?

          As for slippery balls…probably

        • Geoffro

          Haha, (the shorts were a lot shorter though in those years)

      • Moz

        I hope the authorities look into Vasgate!!! A dog act.

      • Brumby Runner

        A sure sign of what’s wrong with rugby in this country. I swear there has been a lot more written on this storm in a teacup issue than was directed at the Swinton no arms shoulder charge to the head of Naisarani.


        • Priorities, definitely.
          To be fair, this piece was written before the tahs/rebs game so Swinton hadn’t even warmed up.

          A storm in a teacup is still a storm tho, what a few have accused Banks of, is not new in sport.
          If he has excuses, he’d be best of stating them.

          Shit sticks, Just my opinion.

  • I said elsewhere I thought the bar for Perrett was pretty low. I think she cleared it with ease. Not perfect but no howlers I spotted and she looked comfortable with the speed of the play and handling the game over 80 minutes. What more can you ask for?

    As for the Force, I reckon they’re possibly the unluckiest side in competition. They were never going to challenge for top spot, and realistically a win today was beyond them. But I bet there were some Brumby supporters with their hearts in their mouths when those first two tries were disallowed. One by the TMO I felt unluckily but not enough to say he got it wrong, one absolutely correctly.

    Their super-time loss to the Rebels might have been their closest to a victory, but they have been good value for money, at least sometimes, and added something to the competition.

    • Gun

      The Force have been good given the situation with the Kung flu and their GRR orientation. They are going to be the start of spreading talent or equalisation across the new TT comp I reckon. Ms Perrett was great. As you said, no howlers and well controlled.

    • Gun

      The Force have been good given the situation with the Kung flu and their GRR orientation. They are going to be the start of spreading talent or equalisation across the new TT comp I reckon. Ms Perrett was great. As you said, no howlers and well controlled.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, well what an enjoyable game. Sitting here having croissants and coffee on a lazy Sat morning. BL’s randoms thoughts whilst pretending to French:
    – Great effort by the Force. Fantstic first 30 mins, they really had the Brumbies measure.
    – I thought the TMO got the calls right. I know the Ponies would have been pissed off, but they were the right calls.
    – Amy had a really good game, she was where she needed to be and not scared to make the calls. She communicated very well with the players, and I would like to see some of the other male ref’s follow her example on that.
    – Ponies finally got their shit in one sock and played it out. I think the score line flattered them a little.
    – Dan McKellar needs to put 240V through for the next dead rubber that is for sure.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Don’t get why Stowers was benched around 60mins.
      Personally thought that was the game changer, more than the Brums replacements.
      Happy with the game, less a few mistakes and discipline changes could have seen a much closer outcome.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        I thought the backrow balance was much better with Lee-Warner playing 6 and Stowers 8. Stander is a good replacement but the others on the bench didn’t have the same impact as the Brumbies bench.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEah that last 15 mins hurt.

  • Geoffro

    Tom Wright is pretty slick (not in the Tom Banks way) but I’m glad Andy Muirhead is getting plenty of gametime-plays his heart out every week.

    • Brumby Runner

      Two very excellent contributions from the Brumbies wingers again last night.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Amy Perrett had an excellent first Superugby game. Just need to work on positioning when tries are scored, and it looked like she belongs at this level. She officiated the scrums well and learned from the Tahs game where she got two calls wrong as Assistant a Referee. Well done Amy, We have a couple of good new referees…

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