Brumbies win battle against the Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
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Brumbies win battle against the Reds

Brumbies win battle against the Reds

The Brumbies have finished off the regular season with hard fought 40-27 win over the Reds in Canberra to make it six wins in a row and all important momentum heading into their quarter final next weekend.

The home side scored six tries in the thirteen point win but didn’t have it all their way as the Reds made them work hard for it and had a running battle with referee Paul Williams as they copped two yellow cards to Taniela Tupou and Scott Higginbotham that the Brumbies took full advantage of.

The set piece battle was always going to be integral to this game and the Reds had a dominant set piece and could have had better pay from it but it was errors at crucial times including an intercept try to Tom Wright that killed off any chance of a late comeback with two late tries making the scoreboard more respectable.

The Match

The Brumbies showed their intent early with strong running and wide play but the it was the Reds who were able to take advantage of some poor execution from the home side to get on the board first.

Bryce Hegarty was able to take advantage of an intercept and kick head to keep the Brumbies pinned down their own end to win a penalty and after some patient build up after the penalty, he finished off what he started for a 7-0 lead.

The Reds look liked they had gone further in front after Matt McGahan swooped on another loose pass and outran the defence but the TMO took a look at a hit by Taniela Tupou on Christian Lealiifano in the lead up and ruled out the try and gave Tupou a yellow card that referee Paul Williams explained he could have lowered his technique and the card could have been worse, despite the protests of Samu Kerevi.

With Tupou in the bin, the Brumbies took advantage with Kuridrani finding space in the backline to get on the front foot. The Reds initially did well to hold them out but Andy Muirhead managed to get over the line to make it 7-5.

The Reds were prepared to play without the ball and the tactic seemed to work well for them as they had the better of territory but only 40% possession and they went further ahead from a Hegarty penalty right in front after Folau Fainga’a was ruled to not use his arms in a tackle.

The scrums had been a good battle to this point, with the Reds with a point decision up against their more fancied opponents. Three minutes before the break, the Reds looked like they had dominance but not according to the referee and could consider themselves unlucky as Lachie McCaffrey took control at the back and scored the second Brumbies try.

The Reds suffered a blow just before half time with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto having to go off after clashing heads with Samu Kerevi. His replacement Scott Higginbotham didn’t have a great two minutes as he gave away a penalty for coming around the wrong side of the maul and followed that up from that penalty as being adjudged to have collapsed the Brumbies maul to leave Williams to award a penalty try, although the call seemed a bit harsh and copped the double whammy of the yellow card.

Embed from Getty Images

The Reds didn’t have a great start to the second half as the Brumbies again took advantage of a yellow card. A penalty for not rolling away allowed the boot of Tom Banks to show his accuracy to launch a rolling maul and Rory Arnold squirmed over for his second try in two weeks.

Things went from bad to worse for the Reds as Filipo Daugunu then gave the Brumbies a gift as he offloaded straight into the hands of Tom Wright and he ran 50 metres to the line to make the Reds task even harder at 33-10.

The reds did manage to reduce the margin in scenes reminiscent of Matt Dunning as Matt McGahan kicked a drop goal from a penalty advantage when tries were what were needed if they wanted to get back into the game.

And they did manage to get the next try with a brilliant first phase try starting in their own half with Jock Campbell making the most of a defensive misread and Duncan Paia’aua backed up to score to give the Reds a slight hope of a comeback with 15 minutes remaining.

They looked good to score again that would have made the Brumbies a bit nervous but their execution right on the Brumbies line let them down and they were made to pay shortly after as replacement Murray Douglas rolled his way over to seal the game at 40-20 before a late try to Liam Wright made the final score 40-27.


The Game Changer

The five minutes before half time. The Brumbies were arguably lucky to get the first try to McCaffrey and the follow up penalty try that saw Higginbotham go to the bin.


The G&GR MOTM

A real team effort from the Brumbies tonight with tries scored across backs and forwards. The nod goes to Rory Arnold whose matchup with Izack Rodda was one to keep an eye on.


Wallaby Watch

Plenty of Wallabies on show tonight. The Brumbies front row had a tough night against the Reds who could consider themselves unlucky on a number of calls. Tom Banks’ kicking for the line to launch the Brumbies attack from lineout was again exceptional and added 119 run metres. Tevita Kuridrani had a quiet night by his recent standards but was solid. Rory Arnold’s work in the lineout and the maul should see him in Gold in a starting role.


The Details

Score & Scorers

BRUMBIES 40
Tries: Muirhead, McCaffrey, Penalty try, Arnold, Wright, Douglas
Conversions: Lealiifano 3, Lonergan
REDS 27
Tries: Hegarty, Paia’aua, Wright
Conversions: Hegarty 3
Penalties: Hegarty
Drop Goal: McGahan

Cards

15 mins – Tupou (Reds) – Yellow
40 mins – Higginbotham (Reds) – Yellow

  • Steve

    Thanks for the writeup Steve!

    I’m not sure I agree on the scrums, I think Tupou in particular was having a rough night and both Sio and Slips were getting the better of him. Smith was faring better vs. 7As + Makin though with both sides having their moments. I’m no scrum expert though!

    Brumbies seem to have a knack of running away on the scoreboard recently, sometimes spectacularly but sometimes (as today) when it didn’t feel like they were playing that much better. I suspect it means they are playing a more complete game than we realise.

    Definitely not at their best today and as you say a couple of lucky moments, so they going to want to pick it up for next week. Exciting times!

    • The scrums were a lottery, with the ref holding the winning ticket every time tonight.

      I thought the sequence that lead to McCaffrey’s try could have gone the Reds way but the Brumbies really had to work hard and weren’t able to get penalties from it as easily as they had in recent weeks.

      • Timbo

        Yeah both front rows were split. Should have been a reset.

        • Brumby Runner

          The ref’s explanation was that the Brumbies’ front row remained intact and hence it was play on (under advantage, I think) while McCaffrey had the ball at his feet.

        • Timbo

          7as hit the deck after the scrum splintered. The brums front row was intact but McCaffrey wasn’t bound to them nor were the locks.
          I didn’t have a problem initially with that try because the reds scrum disintegrated so catastrophically, but Williams disregards the laws so easily.

      • Howard

        Thanks for the article. Just watched the replay I didn’t see any Reds dominance, particularly in the first half when not one set scrum resulted in the ball coming out . Reds got a free kick on the first scrum for early engagement then conceded penalties in the next 4. It could be judged as a lottery but the ref was obviously looking closely at Tupou and judged him to be angling in. All the footage in TV was on the other side, so hard to tell. Agree the McCaffery try should of been reset

  • Timbo

    Few questionable decisions going the way of the home team. That hit by Tupou was a belter and shoulder to shoulder with wrapped arms. It wasnt late, or high. Why was it a card? Because it was too forceful? To quote Hansen, We’re not playing Tiddlywinks. Its exactly the same as that brilliant hit on Carter by another dominant front rower this time named after a German Battleship.
    Higgers was deemed to come from the side but I don’t see how the ref could have seen that as he was miles away. No reply as they went to the sheds either. He looked as if he came through the middle and he thought so too.
    Higgers got tipped. no referral or even a replay. Ref goes to blow it but changes his mind
    Daugunu gets collared by Arnold and Brumbies run away for a try.
    those decisions had a 21 point turnaround.
    Not to take away from the Brumbies, but the inconsistencies are getting worse

    • Pedro

      Even as a Brumbies fan I felt like they got carried a bit.

      • idiot savant

        The Brums were the better side and deserved to win. However they have to remember that what marched them upfield when the game was to be won was penalties not their own play. Some of these were a result of pressure, some were BS like Tupou’s tackle. Thats play on everyday in NZ which only goes to prove how biased the kiwi ref was in this game. The Brums wont get that leg up when they play any other side in the finals.

    • formerflanker

      The Tupou hit was also deemed to be “almost too high” or words to that effect from the ref.
      Christian goes down hard – with a damaged shoulder, not head.
      I think Tupou was carded for being too dominant.

      • Keith Butler

        Don’t know that it warranted a card but definitely a penalty. A perfect example of a no arms shoulder charge. Any higher card time.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I think the referee said ‘he could have tackled lower’ was implying that it was somewhat high, but not quite a red.

    • Steve

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99acb3c7ea269562e5019c60161b8b051ca920f29663566083d77e356c3c5d10.png

      This is not the front of the maul.

      But I do agree in principle, the Brumbies definitely got the rub of the green.

      • Timbo

        fair enough. I was watching on a phone screen with a 5yo asleep in my lap so i may have been far from focused on the rugby

        • Steve

          Ha I get it – The tip tackle in particular I was shocked they didn’t look at. Apparently the TMO is supposed to say something to the tune of ‘check check’ if the referee has missed something and he too missed it.

        • Timbo

          Just watched the replay of that try. Higgers definitely comes from the front of the maul as it shears off to the left an he is the first defender. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90f9fa5aac9dad2206454fdd6361f4c28b49c1a04aeebb57df34fb0f86a3471f.jpg

        • Slim 293

          After the maul breaks off he clearly comes back in from the side…

        • Timbo

          He’s still bound. goes through the middle and spoils the ball carrier. I think the issue here is how the maul is reffed. It’s utterly ridiculous that interpretations are so varied.

        • Slim 293

          Nope, after the maul is split he’s unbound and comes back in from the side, and then illegally brings it to ground.

        • Timbo

          watching it again, once higgers has attached himself to the ball like a Iranian limpet mine, McCaffrey attempts to get him off the ball by punching his leg. Now, is that foul play?

        • Geoffro

          nuh,he was just frustrated

    • nmpcart

      There were no wrapped arms – he brought the arm in afterwards – to be charitable he got his timing wrong, but from a Reds fan point of view it sure looked to me like he never attempted to go low or do anything other than hit with the shoulder and then think about arms. Deserved card and a cheap shot from someone who should have been coached to use his size and power properly. Just reverting to when he was the oversized kid in schoolboy rugby unfortunately.

      • Crescent

        I can’t agree. I can see the arms wrapping in the image. Heavy hit shoulder to shoulder. Looked nasty, but not at the red card threshold. Lateness is an issue, but not a high shot. Referee influenced by the vocal home crowd and poor language from the TMO in my view with a statement of “lucky it’s not a red card”. Bearing in mind the edict to protect players from head knocks, the way LLF was rattled was ugly and I think had a bearing on how the TMO expressed himself.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5615a0639b03acb64f0aca8d1e0738323f390eb296aec6c5bdbd8d74776aec34.jpg

        • Keith Butler

          Will have to agree to disagree. That photo was taken after the hit and CLL was on his way to the deck. When you view the whole sequence Tupou hits after the ball is passed leading with his shoulder and arms by his side, they only come up after initial contact. Only a penalty though.

        • Crescent

          I hear you, the issue being we see this type of tackle (hit with shoulder and late arm wrap) a lot. If he had hit LLF under the ribs, would only have been reviewed for lateness. For me it remains a question of consistency. Let’s face it, Rona escaped with a poor call the previous week for a more flagrant foul. Like I say it was ugly, but not red card ugly.

        • Keith Butler

          Yep. Consistency is the word. There was a video here on a Thursday showing the definitions of a shoulder charge and a high tackle. Well with looking at.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Shoulder coming up and making contact high with force is a yellow card under the current rules as I understand it, even if the initial contact was legal.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It was Tana Umaga who made that quote about tiddlywinks mate.

      • Timbo

        Apologies to Tana.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        On the longer version of the video Tupou’s shoulder slid up towards Christian’s head. Under the current rules even if initial contact is legal if it slides up it is still a penalty and yellow card.

      • Geoffro

        handbag full of em.Was a good hit I reckon.The protocols coming into force influenced the decision.Way above the tits unfortunately

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahaha capturing it all

    • Huw Tindall

      Agree the cards were harsh and could have changed the game. Brums still winning but Reds a definite scare. The ‘seatbelt tackle’ on Daugunu was obvious. Any attempt to tackle above the shoulders is minimum a penalty. Hand on his neck, even though he let go straight away, is a penalty according to the WR dangerous tackle decision flowchart!

  • sambo6

    Banks has to get the first shot at the Walllaby 15 jersey…..

    Well…at least he will next year under the new coach…

  • Flimflam

    Was very impressed by Wright on the wing for the Brumbies. Has speed and a dangerous step, which is something we haven’t seen from an Australian winger in a while.

    Probably won’t make the Wallabies this year, but is a dangerous prospect going forward

    • Max Graham

      I didn’t see the game but he’s impressed me playing at 12. Good hands, big and uses space well.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        His passing leaves a lot to be desired at times, but he has an excellent step. I thought he looked better on the wing at this point to be honest, although I imagine the centres are his spot longterm given he doesn’t look quite quick enough.

        • Flimflam

          Sure he’s not a quick as Aphiwe Dyantyi, but Wright’s no slouch either.

          Koroibete , Daugunu and maybe Speight aside, he looks as fast as any other Australian winger

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          We shouldn’t keep aiming for centre level speeds in our wingers I don’t think. But you could be right.

          Pulu is certainly faster though.

        • Huw Tindall

          wing is the classic spot to rehabilitate a mungo from :D

    • Geoffro

      Love speedy wings,Muirhead has got some wheels too and hasn’t done much wrong in his last couple games for the Brums

  • I did watch this, but honestly thought Williams had a bit of a shocker. Tupou made a good tackle, and “almost too high” is a paraphrase for “just low enough.”

    I think there were a couple of decisions the other way where the Brumbies got lucky too. Not saying the best team didn’t win, but the margin, and possibly even the win, was gift-wrapped for them. I’m thinking, having been rude about Thorn a couple of weeks ago, that he’s got a good pack and the nucleus of a decent side there with a good backs coach and a decent 10. He’s got a year left to show it I guess. Apologies to the died-in-the-wool Reds fans who want them to show it now, I think they didn’t get the rub of the green and I wonder how often they’ve lost because of that and could have done better with a bit of luck?

    On a different note, condensing from 5 teams to 4 was meant to concentrate talent. We’ve ended up with one Aussie team in the finals, absolutely on merit and with a home QF on points too. We had two other sides in with mathematical chances of making it, but one of them only got there by not resting any of their Wallabies, so had to rest in the last match against another side with a mathematical chance of making it. And guess what, the other side could play pretty much a full strength side and walloped the Tahs.

    The Rebels… well as the season progresses they didn’t and everyone else did. With the exception of the Crusaders who started like they were on fire, and finished like it too. I think they have an issue of being a group of stars (and others) rather than a team but if they don’t lose too many players, next year that will improve. I’m not being really critical of the Rebels, perhaps overly generously so, taking the Rebels + the Force players mashing them up, plus QC and others, and hoping to get a real finals contending team in a year is a big ask. It’s not impossible, but it’s rare you see it done, I think to get this close is actually quite an achievement. It’s disappointing because for a while they looked incredible, but then the other teams started to gel and the cracks started to appear but rugby is a game where the team of good players usually beats 15 great individuals – just look at the results in Barbarians matches.

    That leads to the question of what to do for the Wallabies of course. It can’t be 100% Brumbies, despite the temptation. But I think a core of Brumbies (not Tahs) leavened with some players from the other three franchises makes sense. Seriously not a sentence I expected to be writing but one I think makes sense. Cheika won’t agree but I think most people here agree we need to change from Foley, QC behind a good pack looks good, but behind a bad one looks bad. L’fano edges them both for mine… although who we pick in 2020 is a headache.

    • Keith Butler

      Your summary of the Rebels season is spot on. I am a bit concerned for our backs. It’s great to have one or two who can cover several positions but when you have more than that (Toomua, Hodge, Maddocks, English, DHP) selection becomes a nightmare. Either the coach or the player needs to decide which is their best position and stick to it regardless

      • I hadn’t thought of it from that point of view, and I think you’re right. If there’s some stability post-Japan, hopefully that will be sorted out. You can still shuffle around in response to injury but you pick players to a position and say “you’re playing there for the season” and start to build some combinations.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well said Eloise, I like your comment about a group of stars rather than a team as that’s what I was thinking watching them play on Friday. They lack cohesion and at times don’r seem to know what they are doing. definitely not playing as a team

      • I think it’s why the Rebels have dropped off from what I’ve been able to see. A lot of other sides, and better players, have been building towards the finals and beyond to RWC. As they’ve started to come together, that team work has really started to show up the weaknesses in the Rebels.

        That said, I wouldn’t like to be in Wessels’ shoes. He was stamping his authority on the Rebels, then a load of bodies arrived, shook everything up. If he can keep most of his players post-Japan, they’ve got the talent and they should start to play nicely together next year. Although as someone has commented below, they’re “blessed” with too many utility backs which might be an issue.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate. I’m not so sure that all their utility backs truly are utility. For me Hodge is crap at anything except the back 3 and the coach playing him at 10, 12 or 13 where he performance poorly doesn’t make him a utility, it just means he doesn’t do well. I think to some extent others are in the same boat

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Go back and look at the video of Tupou again, especially the longer version where you see his shoulder slide upwards. It was clearly a yellow card under the rules.

      The main “interesting” call for me was McCaffrey’s try – could easily have been a knock on, but am glad they erred on the side of the attacker. I wish they would do that more often on 50-50 calls.

      I think the refereeing may have blown out the score a bit, but not by much.

      • Huw Tindall

        Don’t they have ‘benefit of the doubt’ to the attacking team over in the NRL? Union very strict with ‘clear and obvious’ for a TMO to make a decision on.

        Disagree re Tupou but it’s a very fine line. Looked like CLL’s head whiplashed into Tupou due to the impact of the hit. Also, slipping up is for the arm in the tackle according to the WR flowchart on high tackle infringements. My main concern is the players are judged to an impossible standard. ‘Accidents’ will happen in such a dynamic high paced game. U20s has had three 3 early game RCs which have ruined the contest. If it happens in a crucial RWC game or Super final it’ll get some attention. Legitimate reds like punching someone in the face are fine but that’s been taken out of the modern game already so not a big issue. I think SBW’s RC agains the Lions was marginal. Only because it was a shoulder and not an attempt to wrap did he get the RC.

        • idiot savant

          Couldn’t agree more Huw. This was a genuine body on body tackle. There was no attempt to hit the head nor did he. It was whiplash from the impact on his body. Both his arms were out to grasp CL. The thing that impressed me most was CL’s courage in making the pass when he knew it was coming. Like a good kiwi he lay down long enough for the TMO to say something but in the run of play no one saw anything. Unlike the Higgers tip tackle commented immediately in the run of play and nothing was done even tho Higgers acted like a kiwi and stayed down and rolled around. That was the game changer right there. Brums would have been down 14 – 0 and under serious pressure.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          My only argument is that I don’t think his arm was out to grasp at all. I think he hit deliberately with his shoulder and his arm was out to create a larger contact area for the hit. It was stupid as a legal tackle would have probably hurt Toomua more as the timing was good.

        • idiot savant

          Dont be coy KRL. This was a version of the Retallick special. Its all about timing. You are aiming for a body collision at the same time as, or milliseconds before, your arms wrap. Your brethren invented it! Taniiella learned it in Auckland. Were the arms too late? Not in real time.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ah the old story that everything wrong in rugby started in NZ. Come on mate you need to expand this to how the referees are too scared to ping NZ players as well, don’t leave it half out there.
          I disagree. Tupou hit with his shoulder high and arm turned in to increase the hit. The arm wasn’t positioned out as it would have been to grasp the player, the result connected with the head. Clear yellow every day of the week and stupid. If he’d hit lower, so no sliding up to then contact the head, and twisted his arm out to grab it would have been a good tackle.

      • I’ve watched again, several times. I think you might be watching through pony-tinted glasses because either we’re watching different video or you’re being really hard on a player from “the other side” to the one you support. I still can’t find a video that makes me think YC for that tackle, not one that is available outside Australia anyway. But hey, that’s what being a fan is all about, bringing the passion to the game.

        I went back and looked at McCaffery’s try too. I think a pedant would say it was a knock-on. I don’t have any skin in this game, and think it was really. I’d object if it was scored by someone against my side. It’s hard when you get a missed call like that at that point in the game. How does it change the psychology of the teams and how they play? Small changes in attitude and commitment are hard to see but can make a big difference.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Meh, well I’ve asked multiple friends who are refugees and neutrals (Tah fans or Kiwis) and both thought it should be a yellow card.

        • Fair enough, maybe I can’t see the clip you’re referring too in the UK. I did get a few show on my search that then said “can’t be shown where you live”

    • Singapore Sling

      Doesn’t matter who your 10 is if the packs going back.

      • Not entirely true. A 10 will always look better if their pack is going well, agreed. But some of them cope better if their pack looks poor – they might not create much but they take bad ball and kick for position or spot holes and run through them or whatever, despite the pressure. Ignoring Barrett, who is just a freak, Biggar is quite good at that for example. Jones before him was too. For all his other faults, Farrell is quite good at it, although we don’t see him at 10 on the international stage that much.

        I don’t know if they’d step up, but some of the French Top 14 pivots look ok too, but they have more shared responsibility with their 9’s who will take some pressure of their 10’s and not deliver bad ball as often, kicking or running themselves rather than giving a bad pass in general.

        • Who?

          I don’t think Barrett is any good behind a retreating pack. We just don’t see him stuck behind one that often. The Lions tour was a rather even battle, and he didn’t manage to take the opportunities in front of him. It’s similar when he plays the Crusaders. Other than that, we don’t often seen Beaudy behind a retreating pack.
          .
          And even poor old CL had a few ordinary games early this season behind a retreating pack.

        • While you’re entitled to that opinion of course, I’m not sure I agree. The two teams you cite, whether their packs get the upper hand or not, had/have defensive strategies to cope with Barrett.

          The Lions rushed him and tried to take time away. If not for SBW rightly getting a RC and some dubious referring in other places the AB could easily have won that series too when the history books might be recording some rather different thoughts on Barrett. The Crusaders seem to defend him with about 25 players of their fifteen… I’m not quite sure how they do it, but they seem to manage to tirelessly take out every running, most passing and most long and short kicking options. Some of that is probably speed and pressure too.

          However, the Canes and occasionally the ABs struggle up front against the SA sides. Barrett generally looks OK against them.

          He certainly looks better behind a dominant pack, no question about that but he can look poor behind a dominant pack if he’s consistently and directly put under pressure IMO – but very few teams have the levels of speed and fitness to do that.

        • Who?

          You’re right about the Lions’ tactics. They used Andy Farrell’s defensive systems, which also worked for Ireland against the ABs. Farrell-coached teams, over the past RWC cycle, have played NZ 6 times. The record is 1 draw, 2 wins to NZ (Dublin 2016 and Eden Park 2017), 3 wins to Farrell (Chicago 16, Wellington 17, Dublin 18).
          .
          Those tactics take away front foot ball from Barrett. He has much less time and space, and suffers like any other 10. The fascinating thing is that the Canes were the Super team that were first to adapt that style of rush defence, in 2016.
          .
          I don’t know that the SBW RC is what swung the series. The ABs missed clear attacking opportunities – Barrett missed opportunities – both in the loss and the draw. Both teams had opportunities, but neither managed to get there.
          .
          Against Saffa teams, the Canes do what they do against most teams – they switch the point of attack. They trade winning the gain line on occasion to secure faster possession. This isn’t an uncommon tactic. There’s a try from the 2013 November Tests which will remain one of the great examples of how to do this. The Wallabies had first phase ball on the left side of the field inside the Welsh 22. Wales made 2 or 3 HUGE tackles (I remember Mowen and I think AAC got absolutely smashed), but the Wallabies ball carriers were more focused on quick possession. The Wallabies got across the line in a canter, whilst the Welsh defenders were still getting up from their dominant tackles.
          .
          It’s quite arguable that quick ball is still front foot ball, even when you’re not necessarily winning the gain line. Especially in the modern game with rush defences. We often see the defence fly up on the second receiver, so tackles made tighter can have defenders retreating a long way. Concede quick ball with that gain line loss, and the 10’s receiving the ball against retreating defenders.
          .
          Beauden can exploit the issues created by the rush defence, he learned after the Lions series, and there’s no better example of that than his solo try against the Wallabies (can’t remember whether it was 2017 or 2018 – I’m thinking 2018) in NZ where he got around the outside of Simmons, who was disconnected from Kepu and Hooper as both had flown upfield well past the ball carrier, covering off the next two runners (who, from memory, were both also named ‘Barrett’). His greatest assets are personal assets – his pace, his hand and foot skills. He’s not a game manager in the manner of a traditional 10. So he unlocks slow, backheel ball differently to others – and often no more effectively. It’s worth noting just how highly the Kiwis think of Mo’unga, that there’s even been talk over the past two seasons of him replacing Beaudy at 10 (maybe moving Beaudy to 15).
          .
          I’m a massive Beaudy fan – have been since 2014 – but he ain’t perfect.

        • I certainly agree with your last paragraph. Not sure of the date in my case, but other than that quibble, 100% agree.

          I’ve seen the Mo’unga vs Barrett debate. I don’t think it’s entirely fair because it puts the success of the Crusaders at shutting down the Hurricanes entirely on the two 10’s. There are, IMO, a lot of guys in Red and Black shutting down Barrett effectively and routinely, and there are not so many in yellow and black doing the same to Mo’unga on so many occasions. I really rate Mo’unga and I’ll be stunned if he’s not in Japan, but the Saders are just a better side than the Canes and if you swapped the two 10’s I’m pretty sure all the Kiwis in the debate would change their tune pretty fast.

          I think Barrett, DMac, and to a lesser extent Mo’unga, will change how we see the 10 role. Particularly if the AB win in Japan and in France with Barrett and one of DMac and Mo’unga in the mix at both tournaments. That will be long enough for a lot of young Kiwis, and others, to look at Barrett (who will probably have a few more World Player of the Year trophies) and say “I want to play like him.” DMac already does to some extent. Mo’unga has better game management skills, but has some of those stepping, little chips to himself and so on skills, I think he’s learnt from watching Barrett, and being a talented footballer of course.

          Ireland, you’re right, at their peak, they and the BIL had the trick of shutting down the AB thanks to Farrell senior’s defence. But they just fell apart this year and it will be fascinating to see whether Schmidt can get them back together again. England and Wales showed two different ways to beat them, and you can be sure the ABs management will have studied those tapes in case AB v Ireland crops up in Japan.

  • Geoffro

    Best result from the QF draw for the Brums,we’ve avoided any NZ side and got the less dangerous Saffa side. and quite possibly a semi at home if the Chiefs can knock over the Jags (very possible)

  • idiot savant

    A fitting footnote to Higgers time under Thorn. Sent off by a kiwi ref in his first game (and given 6 weeks for a tackle made everyday in NZ rugby) and sent off in his last by a kiwi ref in another questionable decision. What an arrogant and incompetent performance from Paul Williams. The Brums were the better side and deserved to win but the margin flattered them. Worse though, this was a good match ruined. I thought up until Tupou’s utterly bullshit yellow card for hurting his opponents shoulder that it was going to be a great match. The forward packs were evenly matched and there was good intensity. It should have been an excellent preparation for finals football for the Brums. But Williams ruined it. He had no idea in the scrums and was determined to abuse his position to make it an uneven contest. The Reds were under no warning before the penalty try came and it is arguable that Higgers had gone through the middle as the maul splintered and he had been at the front to begin with. Williams refusal to check the tip tackle is further proof of how nasty he can be. Lyndon Bray will probably reward him by giving him the final.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      The Reds’ scrum has been continually penalised all season even when it ‘appears’ dominant, because they are often scrummaging illegally (especially Tupou’s angles) and pre-engaging. It’s clever when the referee doesn’t pick up on it, because they get penalties all match, but some referees won’t have a bar of it.

      • idiot savant

        Is it all Tupou’s fault? Or is Lillicrap coaching him to scrum illegally? And after each match where he has been penalised for this alleged illegal scrummaging, coaching him to go out and do it again?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah you could be right. Not commenting on that, but purely the results on the field, which sadly for the Reds is that Tupou is often picked up for illegal scrummaging.

        • idiot savant

          But I don’t get that Lillicrap would do this. He coached Slipper for example who has out scrummaged just about every prop hes come up against this season without resorting to illegal measures. He coached Greg Holmes and a bunch of other good technique props. So if Tupou is doing something illegal in every game you can bet Lillicrap will be letting him know after every game. Which makes me think Tupou is either a) out of control, or b) he is so powerful that he breaks up the alignment of his opposition prop and hooker, or c) he is being unfairly targeted by referees.

          I played in the front row and all props try to get under their man. Sometimes this leads to a turn in towards the hooker because you’re bound and theres nowhere else to go. Tupou has the low stature and power to do this to just about every loose head he comes up against. I think the answer is b) above which is quickly followed by c).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Slipper’s scrummaging was questionable for years though. He really started excelling in the scrum this year after he joined the Brumbies. Think about it, he has always been better than Sio around the park, but Sio was consistently starting ahead of him, this was due to his superior scrummaging. This seems to have reversed (or at least the gap has become significantly smaller) since he joined the Brumbies.

          Think that’s stretching things a bit. His scrummaging was a huge weakness until last season, when he started dominating (but guys like Paul Cully, whose forward analysis is usually good, often pointed out his illegal angles). This was picked up by the spring tour last year and has continued this season most matches.

          Seems like to me his technique was crap, he found something that worked but it was illegal, the referees picked up on it and he has struggled to adapt. He is super young for an international prop and is still learning how to scrum well.

        • idiot savant

          Could be. He is certainly being targeted by refs. I still hold to the theory that his angles are caused by his power to get under his opposition. And if it is just boring in you would think someone would have pointed out the problem to him by now.

          Slipper struggled with a shoulder injury for years that left him susceptible to being pulled down. He had an operation but the turning point was the recovery time after his achilles operation. He came back with a healed shoulder and scrummaged brilliantly last year – alongside Tupou! And I have heard several Brumbies speak of his scrummaging ability.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          How many games did Slipper play last year? He was suspended pretty early on. He scrummaged well with a bloke who utterly dominated scrums last year, until he got continually picked up for illegal scrummaging.

          When was Slipper’s last good international season scrummaging? But agree the time off did him huge good. But virtually every single prop who has been at the Brumbies in recent years has scrummaged brilliantly, even Ben Alexander. Seems the scrum coaching down here is brilliant.

          What’s more likely:

          a) a guy that is a really poor scrummager becomes a world class international scrummager in one off side, and is then so dominant to an otherworldly level that he gets unfairly targeted by virtually all professional referees; or

          b) a guy that is a really poor scrummager starts scrummaging illegally and does well at international level until his illegal technique is picked up by virtually all professional referees, he then goes back to being an average scrummager that concedes a lot of penalties while he is learning how to scrum well?

          To me, B seems infinitely more likely.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Although I may feel differently once Tupou puts on the gold jersey.

        • idiot savant

          Im not sure his overall form is good enough for a gold jersey this year. And with his reputation with referees now, he would be a big mistake in knockout RWC matches. 7As and Kepu for me.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Tupou will at least get a few games. I also think that Kepu has outplayed Tupou but Gibson has run what should have been the last hurrah one of our greatest ever props into the ground by making him play virtually every minute of virtually every match despite being 33. I honestly don’t know if he will be able to make it through the world cup as a result.

          I am really upset with Gibson over this, and I imagine that surely Kepu is too.

        • idiot savant

          Agree. But he will be a bench player so if hes managed through the RC he should be alright.

        • idiot savant

          Dan Palmer is a great scrum coach btw.

          I think the Tupou situation is more complicated than a or b. Im not saying hes a wunderkind or anything. Just subject to a little more scrutiny than a lot of other props. He has great scrums and he has poor scrums. But every ref is looking at him in every scrum.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah you could be right.

          Compare the forwards coaches at the Reds and Brumbies to who we have at the Wallabies….

        • idiot savant

          Its ridiculous isnt it. If McKellar isnt asked to coach the Wallaby maul for the RWC, it will be treason.

          I like the Reds scrum coach. He has been a test scrum coach and has coached a super rugby winning pack but I don’t care for the Reds line out coach. Maul defence has been poor all season and their maul impotent which is strange when you consider the size of the pack.

          But its impossible to think the national side wouldn’t be better with Palmer, Laurie, and McKellar than the one they have….

        • Who?

          I think the Reds scrum up until 2017 was awesome. In 2017, it started to stumble, but then there was a wake up call and they became dominant again. 2018, they changed their style and still had success, but it was less dominant, and they’ve continued to come back to the pack.
          Lillicrap may have been around in 2017 and before, but the head coach was Nick Stiles. Who was the forwards coach. Who built that scrum. He left in late 2017. The scrum hasn’t maintained the same standards since.
          The Brumbies have very good scrum coaching, and the Reds had very good scrum coaching. I think the referees are picking up on that – the current coaching standards, rather than the history.
          .
          In terms of Slipper, given he couldn’t raise his arm properly and certainly couldn’t do any weights before the shoulder reconstruction, and then time off to rebuild strength, it’s no surprise his scrummaging became ever more suspect with each passing season, and that now that he’s fit and healthy again, it’s improved. And improved further under good coaching at the Brums.

        • idiot savant

          Crapper has been around since Adam was a boy. He probably even coached Stiles in the first place.

        • Who?

          He’s also coached an awful lot of ordinary scrums, whereas Stiles was the one who built the Reds scrum into the weapon it became.

        • Geoffro

          totally agree.The young man is a powerhouse and once he gets a bit of subltety into his game I reckon the sky’s the limit.

        • Who?

          Was it Lillicrap coaching those guys at their peak, or was it Nick Stiles..?

      • idiot savant

        After all that DB I went back and watched the match again and looked at the scrums. I am more convinced than ever almost every decision against the Reds was BS. And the whole Tupou is a cheat argument is also BS. Williams stood on the Brums loose head side for every scrum in first half where he could watch Tupou. There were no camera angles from that side so it was impossible to verify any of Williams decisions.

        Here is what I saw jotted down on notes on my mobile in scrum order (I may have missed one due to some multi tasking at the time!):
        1. No movement off the mark from Reds tight head side. ie Both Sio and Tupou held their ground. Reds scrum pushed over the mark on the loose head side. ie JP Smith drove 7As backwards. Reset.
        2. Short arm penalty to Reds for Brums pre-enagaing.
        3. Same No.1
        4. Same as No.1
        5. First scrum 5 metres from Reds line. Sio collapses. Williams penalises Tupou for pulling him down. Tupou and Mafi furious.
        6. Brums opt for reset. This time Reds scrum goes forward on both sides. Williams calls advantage to Brums?! WTF McCaffrey knocks on and scores.
        7. Scrum screws again in same way as every scrum in the game. 7As goes backwards. Sio and Tupou hold their ground.
        8. second half. Brums front row replaced. For the first time in the match Brums go forward on loose head side. ie Slipper drives Tupou backwards. On the other side Smith continues to drive Les backwards. Reset.
        9. Smith goes down penalty Brums. reset
        10. Williams stands on the opposite side to Tupou for the first time in the match. Reds get a penalty.
        11. Slipper drives Tupou backwards and he collapses. Smith goes forward. Reds clear quick ball for DP’s try.
        12. Short arm against Brumbies for pulling back.
        13. Smith replaced. Reds scrum demolishes Brums. As they back peddle McCaffrey keeps ball in fooling Sorovi who has a brainfart and tackles him resulting penalty and shortly after Brums try.

        They were the quick notes. The things that stood out for me were:
        Tupou and Sio had a great battle. Sio never made one inch forward. Tupou did.
        Williams eyes were on Tupou the whole time. This was obvious. He never looked at the Reds loose head side.
        There were no camera angles to tell if any of Williams decisions were right but if Sio never made any forward progress and Tupou did its unlikely Tupou was pulling him down all the time.
        Slipper had the better of Tupou in every scrum. Slipper was fresh Tupou had played 50 minutes.
        JP Smith drove 7As backwards at every scrum and by some margin. That is a concern for Australia.

        In summary I saw nothing to suggest Tupou was cheating. Steve Lenthall is being kind. The refereeing of the scrums wasnt a lottery. It was an obsession with one man by the referee. When you look at all the scrums, the Reds easily had the measure of the Brumbies, just as they did the last time these two sides met. This time however a kiwi ref got it all wrong.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You could be right, but given that Alaalatoa is almost certainly the best scrummaging THP in the competition, and has been all season, unless he was having a particularly off night, I cannot imagine JP Smith getting the better of him every scrum if he were scrummaging legally.

        • idiot savant

          7As is a great tight head and my first pick for the Wallabies but scrums are not all about the props. If one side doesn’t move the other will which is what happened all night. It was the second row drive from the Reds that was superior. 7As did what he could but didnt have the same drive up his arse as Smith did.

          The real question is what was happening on the side that didnt move. There was no camera angle so we will never know. I would love to have seen that because clearly it was a close battle between Sio and Tupou.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Again, I’d be surprised given AAA’s scrum records, who was pushing behind him and the Reds’ scrum this season. That’s all I will say.

    • Huw Tindall

      That YC for Tupou was utter tripe. Wrapping arms. Contact with CLL’s shoulder. CLL’s head does a whiplash style move into Tupou as a result of the hit. Doesn’t even meet WR’s high tackle flowchart definition of a YC. It didn’t ‘slip up’ to his head. CLL’s head went into Tupou. Penalty at worst. Yes he could tackle lower but he wants to go higher to cut off the offload. Why don’t they just change the law already that you can’t tackle someone about the ribs. It’s coming to that. All this when the data shows the tackler is most likely to get knocked out in a tackle. Maybe we should just play touch footy.

    • Singapore Sling

      So Williams is a kiwi eh. Its all starting to make sense now.

  • Custard Taht

    The Brumbies are trotting along nicely and are primed for a good finals push.
    The Sharks won’t be easy, but the Brumbies should get it done. I hope the pumas beat the chiefs, even though it would mean the Brumbies travelling to Argentina. I think the Chiefs have gotten hot and are well poised to run the table.
    However I think the Chiefs will get it done, and forsee the Brumbies hosting the Chiefs….which would be a cracker of a game.

    • Steve

      Then the Brumbies can put another half century on them! (Definitely wouldn’t expect this to happen again, but we can dream)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s what I’m hoping for

  • sambo6

    1. Sio/slipper
    2. Ff
    3 AAaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    5. Rory
    4 rodda
    6 who knows….
    7 pocock
    8 nasariani
    9 genia
    10 leslifano
    12 kerevi
    13 kuridrani
    11 maddocks
    14 korobete
    15 banks

    No argument…..

    • sambo6

      And I don’t hate Hooper. He’s a super sub

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Certainly not worth having an argument on the subject but I don’t really see how Koroibete (despite being better the last month) or Maddocks can be considered.

      I also think that Genia would be extremely lucky to be starting…

      • Geoffro

        Honestly…..I wouldn’t mind seeing Higgers at 6

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah he’s played well. Criminally underrated player during his entire career.

      • Brumby Runner

        I’d leave Naisarani at 8 and after the last couple of weeks consider Valetini at 6. He was more effective than LSL yesterday before he (LSL) had to leave the field. Isi is a good lineout operatot, has good control of the ball at the scrum base, is very effective running from the scrum base, and links effectively with his backline. Valetini is the hard man making tackles that count and hitting the ball up over the gain line. With Isi working in the lineout and Rob offering a great option to run the ball over the gain line in midfield, I think they would make an excellent 6/8 partnership.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think it would be good for his longterm development, although agree he would do well, and he still isn’t good in the line out yet.

          McCaffrey has outplayed Naisarani all season, if only one of them are to make the Wallabies it should be Lachy.

    • idiot savant

      Ill argue. Have you seen Maddocks’s tackling lately? You cant have that in a knockout RWC match. Otherwise a good side. If McCaffrey keeps this form up Id put him at 6. Or Valentini as a bolter.

  • Brumby Runner

    A couple of quick observations from the game.

    Tom Wright looked very comfortable on the wing and has some great running and stepping skills combined with good pace. A good place for him to re-learn the game.

    How good is Simone going at 12? He is putting support players through gaps in a fashion only otherwise seen in Quade Cooper, but unfortunately not lately. Simone is a major contributor to the Brumbies’ backline attack.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      If Simone can keep working at hitting the line at pace and on his defence he could easily be the Wallabies’ 12 from next year with Kerevi heading overseas. As a young bloke too (only 23) he could have a long career ahead of him.

      • Brumby Runner

        He made the third most tackles for the Brumbies apparently, after Brown and McCaffrey I think. Not bad for a No 12 when you realise some other No 12s in recent years have had to be hidden in defense by the Wallaby coaches.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah he’s improved hugely. Still want to see further improvement though. Why hope he stays at his current level when he could aim for Kyle Godwin-level defence? Such a huge upside to this fella.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’ve been impressed with Simone for a couple of weeks now. Showing lots of promise and a real future

  • Brumby Runner

    Rory Arnold absolutely bossed the forwards exchanges last night, as he has done for most of the year. Has to be in the Wallaby starting side along with Rodda, the other form lock over the whole of the year.

  • Greg

    Just watched the Tupou yellow.

    That is a tough one. Much worse go unpunished. If the 10 had stayed on his feet, The arms would have been around him. Tupou will need to work harder to hold the people he tackles. Due to his weight… many players will bounce back like that.

  • Who?

    Ok, watched Super Rugby Wrap. The McCaffrey try? Penalty advantage went the wrong way. JP Smith started very low – Mafi had his knees pretty well on the ground when the ball was fed. JP then drove up, which unbalanced 7A’s. The Brumbies back 5 looked less straight in their push, and their front row didn’t go forward at all – they just went sideways. Williams pretty clearly didn’t get that right in my book – the team going forward is usually the one that gets advantage, that team wasn’t the Brumbies.
    .
    The Higgers YC? The penalty was signalled for collapsing. It’s debatable whether Higginbotham took that down. He definitely entered the maul from the front – he bound onto the front, and was caught to the front (the lock behind him meaning his binding wasn’t necessary, he was ‘caught’ in the maul). The legality of sliding onto the second man looked a little questionable, but given Higgers had been caught in the maul (even though the lock retreated as Higgers went forward) meant the softness of the bind shouldn’t be an issue. The work done by the front man (Sio) is very questionable – why did he allow Higgers to push up his side onto the front of the next man, when that next man was the ball carrier? Why didn’t Sio defend his ball carrier better? But Williams didn’t talk about swimming up the side. He said collapsing only.
    In terms of taking it down, it looked a whole lot like the Brumbies just got a bit fast at the back and pushed the front down. Higgers wouldn’t have helped, but I’m not sure he was the primary cause, when the maul collapsed in front of him.
    It’s similar to the YC George Smith copped the other season for the Reds. He bound to the front of the maul with horribly body position, had three or four blokes plowing through him at pace, and was basically mown down. And then the maul tripped over him. It was a YC for, effectively, attempting to join the maul. Maybe – maybe – a technically correct decision, because he was the speedbump that tripped the maul. But ultimately, a horrible decision in terms of feel.
    This decision was somewhat similar, in that a penalty would’ve been debatable, but fans would cop it. Going the PT/YC is what makes it so much more controversial. I honestly think there’s a good argument that the correct decision could easily have been scrum Reds…
    .
    The try to Douglas – not sure how he wasn’t held? Didn’t release the ball when he got back up… Pulu from the Blues would be grumpy about that.
    .
    The Tupou YC? Mitchell says it’s fine, Hoiles says it’s right, both say the language was terrible. It’s the weirdest looking contact I’ve seen in a while. I don’t see it as a high tackle. I see it as a fraction late, but far from the worst you see on a weekend. It just happened to be a massive young bloke at high speed into a decelerating old little bloke. It definitely feels a lot like the DC/Bismarck moment – where you look at what happens to the smashed fly half and think, “There’s gotta be a penalty in there somewhere!” But I don’t know that there was one.

ACT Brumbies
@steve_l15

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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