The Brumbies are looking for some much needed momentum going into their finals match against whichever Kiwi juggernaut they draw in the pool. The reds are scrambling for a much needed moral boosting win after yet another horror season once again driven by what seems like poor fitness and bad coaching. The Brumbies welcome back their fantastic halfback Tomas Cubelli and have the inspirational Leali’ifano running the water while the Reds have lost Higgers, Kerevi and Hendrick Tui.
The first half
I was expecting much and sometimes you get what you expect. The Brumbies, well Aiden Toua, absolutely murdered the only try scoring opportunity of the half by failing to fall on the ball as it crossed the line.
Having said how uninspiring the half was I’d be remiss in not saying that the Reds actually look better in almost every facet of the game except attack. There defensive line speed seems faster and more direct than I’ve seen it for a long while. And it seems that the attack could mesh any moment. The brumbies seem to have gone backwards over the July test window. Their head coach being with the Wallabies probably didn’t help them much.
Simmons playing very well. Has he been playing the wrong position for the last 8 years or so?
— Reg Roberts (@RugbyReg) July 7, 2017
The second half produced three tries, a dubious penalty try to the Brumbies, and a try to Godwin after Quade Cooper spilled the ball over the line after some great pressure from Tom Banks. The game seemed to be heading in the same direction as a billion other Reds games this year with a fade out in the final quarter but, no one counted on 19 year old Hamish Stewart. Within minutes of his entry to the game he’d scored his first Super Rugby try off the back of the perhaps the only couple of minutes of decent attacking play the Reds had managed all night.
The Reds were back in the match at 13-15 with eight minutes to go. I’ll admit that even at this stage I didn’t think the the Reds could win but to their credit they worked the ball down field through a great Karmichael Hunt kick, smothered the Brumbies mall from the resulting lineout and set up for a last minute run at the line from the games last scrum. Tuttle took the ball hard towards the centre of the field off the scrum then passed the ball to Cooperwho drew his man and slipped the ball inside to Perese who had worked his guts out to get there from the blindside wing. Andrew Smith dragged Parese down just short of the line but either by design or good luck Parese popped a pass up into Smith’s chest winning the Reds a penalty and the game for offside at the ruck.
The final score was 16-15 to the Reds
The Game Changer
I was tempted to leave this blank but I’ll say the four or five under 20 players the Reds had playing tonight. In particular Hamish Stewart and Isaia Parese.
The G&GR MOTM
Yeah nah! nothing to see here.
Anyone pinning their hopes on a wallaby jersey from tonights performance will be bitterly disappointed.
Crowd: Not many
Score & Scorers
Tries: Hamish Stewart
Conversions: Quade Cooper
Penalties: Quade Cooper 3/3
Tries: penalty try, Kyle Godwin
Conversions: Wharenui Hawera
Penalties: Wharenui Hawera 1/2
Cards & citings
George Smith (yc)