The Brumbies have opened their 2019 account in emphatic fashion with a dominant 54-17 win over the Chiefs. Doubles to Chance Peni and Tevita Kuridrani and four other try scorers for eight in total spread across the team setup their first win over the Chiefs since 2014. The Brumbies scrum was impressive against a strong pack and it laid the platform alongside the trusty rolling maul to clock up the tries tonight.
It wasn’t a great start for the Brumbies after conceding a penalty goal to Damian McKenzie in the opening minute after their exit play didn’t go to plan.
After that shaky start, the Brumbies worked their way into the game with glimpses of the expansive attacking game plan that they have being trying to implement under Dan McKellar.
Rory Arnold went close to scoring after attempting to place the ball against the base of the post but was knocked back by the TMO. But it would only be two more minutes for Tevita Kuridrani to continue his impressive form and score the opener for a 7-3 lead.
Minutes later Tom Banks sliced through the Chiefs defensive line off a short ball from Lealiifano and left three defenders in his wake from 45 metres out to score a brilliant try and with Lealiifano’s conversion, the Brumbies were up 14-3.
The Chiefs attempted to close the gap with some limited field position, but McKenzie missed the shot at goal from a handy position with the Brumbies exit play again under pressure.
The Chiefs defensive line had been attempting to rush up in the Brumbies faces but it came unstuck for them as Lealiifano found a gap and found Chance Peni, who was in for the injured Toni Pulu, and he found the line in the left corner and get the crowd on their feet with a 21-3 scoreline within 25 minutes.
The Chiefs are a side that will never give in easily and on the back of two penalties in the Brumbies 22 they found space on the right wing for their opening try to Ataata Moeakiola.
But the Brumbies first half dominance continued with two more tries before the break. Lachlan McCaffrey, who had been impressive all night, scored off the back of a five metre scrum and then right on half time, the Brumbies went to their trusty rolling maul and Folau Fainga’a made it 33-10 and the Brumbies most points in the first half since the 2004 final.
The Chiefs understandably came out firing in the second half with the contact in collision ramped up a few notches, no doubt with the words of coach Colin Cooper still ringing in their ears.
They did enjoy the better of the field position but couldn’t take advantage with a knock on and forward passes stunting their progress in key positions and soon found themselves back under the posts as the Brumbies went coast-to-coast down the right wing with Lealiifano setting up Muirhead and eventually the ball found Peni for his second try of the game to make the margin 30 points.
Just before the 60-minute mark the Chiefs did score another try to close the gap to replacement hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho but it wasn’t enough to put a scare through the Brumbies as they scored another to Josh Mann-Rea with ten minutes to go.
There would be more points with Kuridrani bagging his double to complete the 37 point win and the most points scored for the Brumbies since the 2016 season.
The Game Changer
The Chiefs scored in the opening minute, then it was all she wrote from there as the Brumbies ran wild to complete the 54-17 rout.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty to choose from in this impressive display, but the nod goes to Christian Lealiifano in a blanket finish from numerous team mates.
Plenty of players put their names forward tonight after that win with Tevita Kuridrani continuing his form and the try from Tom Banks should have Cheika considering using him off the bench with his electric pace.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Kuridrani 2, Peni 2, Banks, McCaffrey, Fainga’a, Mann-Rea
Conversions: Leaiifano 5, Hawera 2
Tries: Moeakiola, Taukei’aho
Conversions: McKenzie 2