The Brumbies season has received a big boost with a crucial 31-20 win over the Lions in Canberra. On the back of five tries, the home side out muscled their big opponents to allow the backline to score four of the five tries.
Tom Wright put a nervous start behind him to score one try and looked dangerous in the second half and joined fellow backs Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Banks and Toni Pulu on the score sheet along with Lachlan McCaffrey, who had a great game before being substituted.
It wasn’t the best start for the Brumbies with a yellow card to Tom Wright for a tip tackle in just the fourth minute that put his side under the pump. On the back of numerous penalties, the Lions were able to take advantage of the extra man and Aphiwe Dyanti scored in the left corner.
It looked like it could be one of those nights for the home side as Tom Banks kicked a penalty kick to touch dead on their first trip into the Lions end and another attacking lineout was picked off by the Lions.
It took until the 20th minute for the Brumbies to trouble the Lions and it was Lachlan McCaffrey, who has been excellent in 2019, who scored the opening try and that seemed to spark the Brumbies attack into life.
Malcolm Marx was showing off his ruck burgling prowess to get the lions out of trouble and a penalty goal from Elton Jantjies edged the Lions back in front at 8-7.
But the Brumbies scored next to left-winger Toni Pulu who was put into space from a brilliant looping pass from McCaffrey to give Pulu an easy run to the line.
It looked like the Brumbies would hold a slender lead at half time but a turnover in their end was kicked ahead by Folau Fainga’a, of all people, to put the Lions under pressure and the ball was turned over and Tevita Kuridrani ended up with the ball for the third try of the half for a 19-8 lead.
The opening period of the second half has been an Achilles heel of the Brumbies in 2019 and it would prove that way again as the Lions were able to score a scrappy try to Elton Jantjies who put on a some filthy footwork to get around Tom Banks.
But Banks got one back five minutes later with some front foot ball for the Brumbies allowing some go forward even up against some strong Lions defence but it left them exposed out wide to make it a nine point margin at 24-15.
Then it was another try for the home side two minutes later as Tom Wright made up for his earlier yellow card and sliced through the Lions defence on the 22 to give the Brumbies some breathing space at 31-15 with twenty minutes remaining.
The Lions worked back into the game with a number of penalties going their way and it was replacement Sylivan Mahuza who scored off the back of an attacking scrum to give them some hope with ten minutes remaining.
With the bench cleared, the Brumbies looked close to scoring again to replacement Jahrome Brown after a break down the right wing from Kuridrani but lost the ball in contact near the line but they’d done enough to hang on for the eleven point win and get their season back on track before they head to South Africa on Sunday for a big game against the Stormers.
The Game Changer
The Brumbies battled to get into the game but after the 20 minute mark they hit the lead and although the Lions closed the gap in the second half they managed to hang on.
The G&GR MOTM
Lachlan McCaffrey – has been the most consistent player for the Brumbies in 2019 and with a try himself and a sweet pass for Pulu’s try.
Rory Arnold had a busy night against a big pack and was a pest at the maul. Tom Banks had another strong game and with a possible opening at national level, must be in contention. Tevita Kuridrani looked good in space and even bagged a try himself.
Score & Scorers
Tries: McCaffrey, Pulu, Kuridrani, Banks, Wright
Conversions: Lealiifano 3
Tries: Dyanti, Jantjies, Mahuza
4 min – Wright (Brumbies) – Yellow