Folau Fainga'a hat trick gives Auckland the Blues - Green and Gold Rugby
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Folau Fainga’a hat trick gives Auckland the Blues

Folau Fainga’a hat trick gives Auckland the Blues

A Folau Fainga’a hat-trick has inspired the Brumbies to a tough 26-21 win over the Blues in Canberra to move them to second place in the Aussie conference.

After a nervy start that saw them down 12-0, the Brumbies muscled up and aided by two yellow cards against the Blues, they worked into the game to give themselves a real chance at making up for last weeks loss.

It was the early part of the second half as they hammered the Blues that got them back into the game. It looked like the Blues would spoil the party with two penalty goals to Harry Plummer to put the Blues back in front but Fainga’a’s third try sealed the much needed win.

The Match

The Brumbies started the match under pressure unable to get out of their own half and were lucky not to go behind early to a penalty goal but Otere Black missed the shot.

The Blues would only have to wait three minutes to open the scoring with the nod from the TMO off a possible forward pass with centre TJ Faiane finding space down the left wing and got in ahead of Toni Pulu.

It looked like it was going to be one of those games with the Brumbies first real chance with the ball ending up in an intercept try to Caleb Clarke under the sticks. The wide ball from the Brumbies was on but Christian Lealiifano’s pass unfortunately found Clarke and it was 12-0 in less than ten minutes after Black’s conversion.

But they managed to settle into the game and after a yellow card to Blues prop Alex Hodgman for an off the ball hit, the Brumbies went to their main weapon and Folau Fainga’a rolled it over for his eighth try of the season.

The Blues extended their lead to ten points with a penalty goal from Black but after that they found themselves under pressure with the Brumbies on attack with the aid of a few penalties.

With five minutes remaining in the half, the home side had the Blues on the rack after two scrum penalties and it was James Slipper who would score after pouncing on a loose ball and Lealiifano’s conversion made it a three point game, which seemed unlikely after the opening minutes.

And just on half time, they spurned a penalty shot at goal that would have leveled the score but they were unable to come up with more points as Joe Powell was held up by Tom Robinson to leave it at 15-12 to the Blues.

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The second half was in contrast to the first as the Brumbies had all the ball to start with and they had the Blues under pressure in their own 22 and they kept conceding penalties to have them on a warning from referee Damon Murphy.

After their 12th penalty, Murphy had enough of the Blues infringing and it was their other starting prop, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, getting a ten-minute rest this time.

And finally the dam broke for the Brumbies and Fainga’a had his second of the game, which could have easily been a penalty try but Lealiifano was able to convert from wide out to make it 19-15.

A rare chance with the ball for the Blues had them down the Brumbies end and with a penalty goal for replacement Harry Plummer, it was a one point match and then his second penalty goal five minutes later had the Blues back in front with their replacements starting to make a real difference as they bent the line with their ball running.

The Brumbies scrum had been a real problem for the Blues all night and after another penalty for the front row popping up, the Brumbies went to Plan A and the Blues had no match for it and Fainga’a rolled over for his hat trick try and 10th of the season to put the Brumbies back in front at 26-21 after Lealiifano’s third conversion of the night with just on ten minutes remaining.

The Brumbies sensed another try that could have given them a bonus point and top spot in the Aussie conference but the Blues held them out but it was enough as they came away with a 26-21 win and move them to second in the conference with a crucial game against the Sunwolves at home next Sunday.


The Game Changer

The Brumbies had the Blues under the pump early in the second half and the Blues were able to nudge back in front, but Fainga’a’s third try got them back in front with ten to go.

The G&GR MOTM

Folau Fainga’a. A hat trick has put his FRU membership in jeopardy.

Wallaby Watch

Folau Fainga’a has surely cemented his starting position for the Wallabies. Pete Samu had his usual big game with heavy work around the ruck up against Akira Ioane. Rory Arnold left the field in the first half with an injury that hopefully isn’t too bad.


The Details

Score & Scorers

BRUMBIES 26
Tries: Fainga’a 3, Slipper
Conversions: Lealiifano 3
Penalties:
BLUES 21
Tries: Faiane, Clarke
Conversions: Black
Penalties: Black, Plummer 2

Cards

18 mins – Hodgman (Blues) – Yellow
49 mins – Tu’ungafasi (Blues) – Yellow

  • Brumby Runner

    Think I might retire. As of this moment, my predictions for the Aussie conference are exactly as they now stand. Only down hill for me from here.

    Another very tough if not particularly brilliant game from the Brumbies. Just the sort of game that will probably dominate the RWC. The few Brumbies who make the squad should be in a good place by the time the Cup rolls around.

    • It wasn’t pretty that’s for sure but they’d just come back from overseas with only 2 training sessions all week while the Blues had come off the bye.

      An ugly win is still a win and good to see the 2 recents wins in different ways, one big defensive effort and this a forwards dominated effort.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        And look at who they had out injured too.

        Very happy with the match – result and performance.

      • Huw Tindall

        Also if wasn’t for the shaky start the Brums essentially had the better game in the last 60 mins. Could have been a proper convincing win. Like Tahs and Rebels they all had dud starts before coming back. Was too far for the Rebels and Tahs however whilst Brums had the grit to close it out. Crucial for Brums will be the conference games. They have Reds and Tahs coming up which will go along way to securing a top spot or second and wild card potentially.

      • Geoffro

        Happy to see them and any aus side win ugly in a forwards dominated game.Sick of hearing in recent years our sides are evaluated as having lethal backs if only the forwards could gain parity.

    • Steve

      The few Brumbies who make the squad should be in a good place by the time the Cup rolls around.

      If this turns out to be true (particularly in the forward pack) then I think I’ll just give up.

    • disqus_NMX

      Don’t get ahead of yourself, the Brumbies have played one more game than the Rebels, Tahs, and Reds. Brumbies still have a bye round in two weeks.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        To court counterbalance that, the Brumbies also have the easiest run home, and have had the best record over the last month.

        Conference very much in the balance.

        • disqus_NMX

          True, it’s impossible to pick!

  • Huw Tindall

    Brums showing serious grit. Blues no easy beats this year by any means. Not attractive at timea but who gives a sh!t if you are winning. Another win over an NZ team too which we already seem to be getting used to. Last year it would have been front page news!

    • Steve

      Great to see the Aussie teams getting a little closer to NZ, although I wouldn’t back any of us in a final against the Canes or Crusaders.

      And yeah, Brumbies are showing real grit and determination to win this year, one thing which has been sorely missing in Aus rugby recently. Not pretty but I would watch them for their determination any day.

      Really think they should form the bulk of the Wallabies forward pack this year, 4 of the front 5 I reckon. But I’m not banking on it.

      • Huw Tindall

        Hard to argue with that. Brums front row plus Arnold and Phillip would be a solid start. Jones, Hopper/Poey, McCaffrey back three. Sio and Kepu on the bench and I’d say Fitzpatick as reserve Hooker. However you look at it the Brums pack should make up the core of the Wallabies.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Rodda simply has to start. The guy is an absolutely at the set piece and the tight stuff.

          I like Fitzpatrick, but am not sure he had the bulk.

          While I’m not convinced by Kepu’s form, but Tupou has looked like he was playing drunk a bit recently, he has been very out of sorts at times.

        • Huw Tindall

          Rodda in the mix for sure. Bench or start I’m undecided. Should be able to get 4 first rate locks in our squad with some players unlucky to miss out. Probably favourties would be Coleman, Rodda, Arnold and Phillip at this stage.

          Agree re Fitz. If he had 10 more kegs he’d be great. He punches above his weight though. Makes tackles, pilfers (3 against the Bulls I think), runs, best lineout throw in Aus conference. Maybe he can’t cut it at Test level but none of the other 2’s are obviously a better choice IMO.

          True Kepu hasn’t been at his best but you can’t buy experience and he has it in truck loads. One of our best linking props with a handy passing and offload game. Still got a good motor for an old bloke too unlike Taf who seems to be blowing after 15 mins.

          All in all these are good problems as we have enough depth to have tough chats about who will be in/out.

  • Patrick

    Four tries all scored by front rowers!!

  • Wallabrumby

    I think a 50% win/loss ratio against the Kiwis for the year is a very good result in the end, particularly when the 2 losses were away games in Christchurch and Wellington, so you would almost always write those ones off.

    Where the Brums have let themselves down was against the Aussie teams, the Reds match and both Rebels matches were within reach but they let themselves down rather than the other team taking it from them.

    All but one or two games they have put themselves in position to win the games, but a worrying thing is they are lacking any real punch inside the 22 to capitalize on their position – barring the rolling mall of course. Forward pack is dominating – backline is not yet firing. I think Powell needs to stand up and take more of a play making role and really directing the team, he has the skill and is a competitor, just play a bit tame sometimes for a 9

    • Brumby Runner

      And yet he is second in the Aussie conference for try assists. Not too bad for a half back nobody seems to rate.

      • joy

        Cooper and Genia are 1st and 3nd in SR competition, ahead of Powell at 6th. Powell had a great game this week.

  • Nutta

    Morning Y’All

    A win is a win is a win. Well done Donkeys. For a while there they looked their own worst enemies but they stuck at it and got there. Whilst they were fairly mono-dimensional, considering their other main ground-making option was rested (K’train at 13) it was no surprise they stuck to the tried, proven and simple Jake-Ball approach to life. It is true that we can deride that somewhat, but the 2003 World Cup Filth were also amazing one-dimensional and they won a Bill, so whilst some level of deception good – and is certainly my preferred way to play – when you have that level of authority in particular aspects of your game then you play to them. Age Quod Agis.

    To that end, the Blues demonstrated how ugly we have allowed red-zone infringing to become. To be clear I am not calling them evil in isolation – everyone does it – but it was an exceptional demonstration of it. That, along with unreasonable delays at scrum time are a blight on the game we need to address.

ACT Brumbies
@steve_l15

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

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