Reds v Brumbies Match Review - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Reds v Brumbies Match Review

Reds v Brumbies Match Review

With temperatures nudging 35 degrees at kick-off this match was always going to be a battle of attrition between the two teams. The Reds made a late, strategic change with Wallaby Izack Rodda starting at lock ahead of Harry Hockings with the youngster taking a seat on the bench.

Following the Waratah’s upset win over the Crusaders and the Rebels dropping another game in South Africa, a win here would be significant for both sides.  Victory would give the Brumbies the #1 spot in the Aussie conference, while a home team win would remain within spitting distance of the remaining Aussie teams.

The Match

First Half

Both teams showed their resoluteness from the kick off when, after an early Reds penalty, the Brumbies controlled the ball for 27 phases in the face of some rugged Reds defence.  Eventually the ball found touch and the Reds were able to clear their 22m with their only possession of the match after 5 minutes of rugby.

Some more controlled possession by the visitors eventually resulted in another penalty against the Reds and the Brumbies set up for their usual lineout 5 ms out. The Reds were able to disrupt the lineout with some Brumby confusion at the lift and were again relieved from further pressure. But only to provide the Brumbies another lineout just out of the 22.

Rodda earnt his call up with a touch the throw and it was enough for Alex Mafi to secure the ball and barrel his way up the field to finally give the Reds some territory. It was the Brumbies who know gave way away the penalty this time and Bryce Hegarty found wonderful metres to put the kick right to the corner.  The Brumbies pulled the maul down immediately and, with advantage, Samu Kerevi put in a perfect cross field kick for Filipo Daugunu to soar but spilled the ball in the air.

The Reds came back for the penalty and looked to out Brumby the Brumbies with a rolling maul try. Instead they spun it out and found Scott Higginbotham flat but, somehow, unstoppable who scored a try. With the successful kick the Reds took the lead 7-0.

The Brumby lineout was failing and Folau Faingaa must have been feeling the pressure with a crooked throw at 20 minutes into the match with the visitors well positioned to attach the Reds line.

The Reds must have packed their kicking boots for this match as Samu Kerevi and, in particular, Hegarty put in a series of monster kicks and, more importantly, astutely.  The Brumbies were getting frustrated having controlled the match for the early stages and yet still hadn’t troubled the scorers.

A series of good attacking plays with Naivalu returning a failed kick for touch gave the Reds good position. The Brumbies relented and were penalised giving Hegarty an easy shot at goal. 10-0.

The Reds were on attack again soon after, after another good Hamish Stewart kick and then a another penalty by the Brumbies.  It looked like the Reds rolling maul would get over again, and then they might pick and drive before Taniela Tupou looked to force his way over only for the Brumbies defence to dislodge the ball over the line.

With both sets of players clearly feeling the effects of the first half it looked as though the game was petering out until half time. However yet another uncharacteristic mistake by the Brumbies have the Reds one last chance before the break. And it looked like it would work when Kerevi slipped through and offloaded to a rampaging Tupou. Unfortunately, and not for the first time this season, Tupou’s hands let him down and he dropped the pill cold with a try almost certain.

The players headed to the respite of the change room soon after with a hard earned 10-nil lead to the Reds.

Taniela Tupou runs the ball

Taniela Tupou was in the clear but dropped the ball with the try beckoning

Second half

The Brumbies started the half exactly how they would have wanted and were over before many fans had settled in their seat.  From turnover ball, James Slipper offloaded nicely to Tom Cusack to make a nice run before they spun it wide for Henry Speight to score in the corner. Lealiifano kicked it beautifully to close the game with the score at 10-7.

The Reds looked to strike back soon after and Alex Mafi found space again, however he too spilled the ball and when the Brumbies took it wide to counter, Higginbotham was penalised for a high tackle.

The Reds didn’t have to wait long for another shot as they went for a quick throw in from a Lealiifano kick. Naivalu ran hard and off-loaded to Kerevi who showed deceptive speed to race down the sideline before drawing fullback Tom Banks to pass to Feauai-Sautia for the easiest of tries. 17-7.

Another try came almost immediately when Pete Samu dropped the ball around the half way line, Feauai-Sautia jumped at the loose ball and off-loaded delightfully to Tate McDermott on the inside for the young half to race away to score. 24-7

Once again, the last quarter of the match was notable for the fatigue on show as the replacements would be called on to make a big impact.

Under pressure the Brumbies resorted to their go to move, the rolling maul, on the back of another penalty against the Reds. This time the lineout was on target and the maul seemed set up perfectly. However the Reds were able to disrupt the maul and shove it over the sideline.

But the visitors wouldn’t be denied the points they desperately needed when a wild pass from replacement half Moses Sorovi was spilled by Kerevi and Jahrome Brown, who had literally just come on the field, fell on the ball and was over.  The Lealiifano kick meant the score was 24-14 and would ensure a tense finish to the match.

However the quality of this Reds’ performance was evident as they hit back soon after when Brandon Paenga-Amoa picked up a lost ball and passed over the top to Kerevi who drew the defence again and found Daugunu down the line.  All the Redds winger had to do then was draw the last line and pass inside the Hegarty who was in under the posts for yet another try from a Brumby turnover. 31-14

The Reds’ superior kicking game stretched to replacement tight head prop Ruan Smith who prodded and kicked and found space in the corner. The Reds’ chase was exceptional and the pressure forced a penalty from which they kicked for touch for a lineout 5 m out. The Brumbies were able to hold out the maul but the home team wouldn’t be denied and Paenga-Amosa was eventually awarded a try under a mass of bodies as the siren sounded. 36-14

That was that and the Reds finished deserved winners on the back of a high quality kicking game, determined defence and the ability to make the Brumbies pay, repeatedly, for their mistakes. It was the most points the Reds have ever scored against the Brumbies, beating the 32 they scored (in a loss) in 2000.

The Reds now host the Rebels next Saturday night while the Brumbies can regroup with a  bye.

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

The Game Changer

I’d consider this the moment Rory Arnold was replaced early in the first half. He’s been such a big influence on the Brumbies so far, particularly in and around the lineout.  But in reality it was the back to back tries by the Reds in the 2nd half. The first by Chris Feauai-Sautia and the second to Tate McDermott.


Izack Rodda was fantastic once again, while this was Bryce Hegarty’s best game in Red. However it’s hard to go past the skipper Samu Kerevi who made metres and key plays with plenty of dashes of brilliance.

Wallaby watch

The ‘battle’ between Kerevi and Kuridrani was all one way traffic however this was more a statement of Samu as the Wallaby 12. While Lachy McAffrey has been getting some well-earned buzz he was outplayed by the experienced Scott Higginbotham who won’t be considered for the Wallabies, but possibly should be.

Match Details

Score & Scorers

Reds: 36

Tries: Higginbotham (13’), Feauai-Sautia (46’), McDermott (49’) Hegarty (74’), Paenga-Amosa (80’)
Conversions: Hegarty (14’, 47’, ’50, ‘75)
Penalties: Hegarty (30’)

Brumbies: 14

Tries:  Speight (41’), Brown (’70)
Conversions: Lealiifano (’42, ’71)

Photo Gallery





  • What a display from the Reds. Took the Brumbies on at their strength and came away with the win!

    • Human

      …and just like that, once again, all is well with the world.

      • Jason

        Reds 2019 Super Rugby Champions!?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Bugger me it was hot there. The beers were doing little to take the heat off!

      • Who?

        So… You’re down at the Festival of Hoss in the Hunter next weekend, right? On Rebels/Reds weekend..?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I was meant to be but had to pull out as I will be flying back from Perth in the Friday arvo so wouldn’t make it for the game.
          So I may attend the Red vs arena on Sat depending on what Mrs BL has planned for me.

        • Who?

          I’m curious to know how many will be at Suncorp wearing Red cheering on Will and Quade… It’ll be a fascinating thing to see. It’ll only be clear who someone’s supporting by the signs they’re holding up, not by the jersey they’re wearing…

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEah that is going to be an interesting one. Most of my friends like me have deserted the Reds and now support the Rebs. I think the greeting Slipper got from his old team was interesting. ASY will be having a lengthy spell on the sideline. A punch to the head of a grounded player, followed up by a knee to the head is an absolute grub act.Regardless of the animosity. You dont like the guy, stand up and go toe to toe with him and wear the cost. But grub shots is low. Like father like son!

        • Who?

          I missed the start of the game, so didn’t see Slipper’s reception.
          Talking like that about SSY, clearly you were still in NSW-mode back in his days. :-D
          I don’t see any excuse for ASY to be grumpy with Slips, either. What’s Slips done to deserve that?!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nah wasnt in NSW mode, SSY was a niggly player but could be a bit of a grub too.
          Re Slipper, apparently there is bad blood between some of the squad members and Slipper. Well that is what I am hearing from my contacts.

        • disqus_NMX

          The happy clappers don’t like the party boys? Or something more personal?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Not 100% sure. What I was told was that they were unhappy with the bad reputation he had bought on the rest of the team, or something like that.

        • disqus_NMX

          So pretty much the happy clappers not liking the party boys!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Something along those lines.

        • Who?

          Somehow I can’t see either Scott Young (father or son) darkening the door of a church… I mean, I may be wrong – Bakkies Botha was a committed Christian (until he entered the field of play!), but that’s a rather different culture..?
          I got to the game late, I didn’t realize that there was no punishment for the actions of ASY yesterday. Eamonn Tiernan noted in the SMH that Quirk copped a RC for much less last year, and that a RC at the 30 minute mark changes the game comprehensively. The Reds may have won, but a BP would’ve been very unlikely.
          But weird to send a player for a HIA for a punch in the head without punishing the puncher!

        • Who?

          I meant you were a Tahs fan back when SSY played, whereas you then had 15+ years backing the Reds, and now the Rebels. It’s funny you say SSY could be a grub, because ASY basically said the same thing a fortnight ago!
          Didn’t know about the bad blood. But I’m surprised someone who’s been around the squad but really hasn’t done anything of note yet (i.e. I don’t think he ever played a game with Slips) would be close enough to have a beef and behave in such a manner.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nah wasnt a Tahs fan back then. By the early 90’s was supporting QLD.
          I think Slips and ASY played together in NRC, but could be wrong there. But their families know each other reasonably well.

        • disqus_NMX

          I’m maybe going… and definitely will be cheering the Rebels!

        • Brisneyland Local

          See you at the bar!

  • nmpcart

    It really looked like the heat sapped the Brumbies of energy. In the 2nd half after 10 minutes they seemed to have nothing left. Must have been really difficult out there, good on the Reds for handling it, although I was surprised how few minutes some of the back reserves got when the game was well won and considering the conditions – looked like Lucas got on at 78 minutes and DP only a short time before that.

  • Andy

    McDermott really looks like a player. Has all the fundamentals tied down with a good attitude. Some of his passing was sublime.

    • mattyjinred

      At the game and one pass was actually under the defenders who were hounding the breakdown. It was a thing of beauty

  • Nutta

    Congratulations to the Reds on a great win.

    For the Donkeys, that opening 20 odd phases was good stuff, the loss of Coleman was huge, the impact of the lineout collapse cannot be understated (highlighting weakness in their holistic game) and Folly Fingers, Slipper & McCafe continue to play well.

    For the Reds, simply their general spirit was the biggest call-out for me. They really wanted it and it showed in their D.

    I had a laugh seeing Sam Scott Young continue the family traditions. I expect he will have a fortnight now to chat about it with dad.

    And Ruan Smith just became my bolter for the Wobbly 10.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Ruan’s kick was pure gold. Better than anything Spanners has done! ;-)

    • Sambo

      Robbie Coleman? He was only 1.79m Nutta ;)

      • Nutta

        Duoh… Got me there.

    • Brumby Runner

      Ruan’s kick was so much an off the cuff moment, that I would be extremely surprised if all the chasers were on side. Not that it matters to the result. The Reds were simply too strong in all facets of play.

      • Nutta

        Off the cuff my arse! I’ll have you know it’s a bit of a Masons Secret Society thing. Front Rowers have the most scintillating skills of any players at any time anywhere in the world. The problem was the secret Propsonian Symposium at the Hague in 1973. During the 2nd reading of the Vow of Silence Towards Fly Halves by Jim Roxburgh there was a sudden outright universal support for the side-motion to permanently and forevermore keep such skill-excess in check for fear of driving all others out of the game. So as a universal act of Christian Charity it was unanimously decided that Fronties would cede any and all opportunities for such skill levels to be exposed. And so at a chosen moment early in any Fronties life-cycle they are quietly taken aside and made to swear the oath of ‘Run straight and drop passes’. Occasionally someone slips and forgets their vows. A Behavioural Re-Ordering Team has already been despatched. There will be an inquisition, Ruan will likely lose a nipple and balance shall be restored. The alternative is chaos as high-stepping, pirouetting & chip-kicking props throw off their veils of secrecy and take the world by coup d’état.

        • Greg

          Indeed. Beer had to be invented to stop props taking over the world!

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Great result for the Reds. The team really proved me wrong, played some beautiful rugby and scored some great tries. A really deserved victory in really tough conditions – that has resulted in egg all over my face.

    Kerevi has also become the best and most important player in Australia, and it is fucking insane that rugby Australia are going to let him go, while we pay a 27 year openside flanker (the position we have the most depth) $1 million per year for the next five years.

    Congratulations Reds, Reg and all fans. An excellent performance.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep. I hope that Hooper cuts his contract short and departs overseas. The cost to Aus rugby is appalling!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I wouldn’t mind if that happened, and Mad Dog McMahon and Gill came back. Both just as capable as Hooper in my view, and I think McMahon was outplaying him in gold before he went overseas.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think losing those two players is the biggest indictment against RA.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          George Smith in 09 man, he’s the only one possibly competing for the gold … George Smith…

        • Brisneyland Local


      • IIPA

        ….how does a Reds Brumbies match thread become another anti Hooper piece…. ( I don’t necessarily think either of you are wrong but Christ it’s an old tune)

        I’d like to cheekily say this weekend has seen wins for the three proudest Aussie provinces. Reds, Tahs, Force.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Must Admit. I watched teh GRR and loved it.
          Fast furious and enjoyable. The loss of the Force was apalling.

        • Moz

          Bless you my friend! I take back all those things I said about you !

        • Brisneyland Local

          I really enjoyed it. Was also great seeing Digby Ioane and the Honey Badger our there. I sure as shit hope that Cheika is looking at Deegon (sp?)

        • Adrian

          Spot on IIPA

    • Happyman

      Mate I did think about your comment pre game while watching this one.

      Good game from both sides in what would have been a furnace.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I thought the Brumbies were embarrassing. How many times did they drop the ball?

        • Happyman

          I would put it down to the heat when it gets that hot In Queensland it is just disgusting to play in.
          My club team played on Saturday and quite a few pliers had a liquid laugh at half time.

    • Cameron Rivett

      Has this been confirmed yet? Last I heard it was just preliminary discussion. Even if it has been, the Japanese season is so short that I’d say it doesn’t preclude him from playing in Australia for very long. He is definitely the in form 12 in Australia though and I’d hate to see him go.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I hope you’re right mate, and it is just a one season deal rather than a multi-season one the that sees us lose him permanently.

        But if it is just a one season deal, then why doesn’t he try and negotiate a flexible contract with RA? The fact that he by all accounts is not trying to do so makes me afraid.

    • Jason

      “Loyalty” in all the wrong places!

  • Wallabrumby

    Simple – Strong Defence = Pressure = Turnovers = Tries. Wallabies and other Aus teams should take a note from the reds playbook. Reds had the players (e.g. Kerevi) to convert that Turnover ball into 5 points. Great home ground win.
    Brumbies – Poor handling and poor energy let them down. I thought CL played well and tried to ignite the team, but no other backs (bar Banks) really looked like they wanted it. Forward pack, looked lost & HOT!

  • mattyjinred

    My old man hates Sorovi. He was screaming can someone hit him on the head so we can have him replaced by Lucas after that pass

    • Who?

      Think Sorovi is at risk of being Burgess 3.0 (Phipps being 2.0). Great around the park, the turnover on TK at the end was incredibly impressive, but his passing just isn’t anywhere near the required standard.

    • Andy

      I think Sorovi has great promise. But I’m sick of Aussie players showing promise and not fulfilling it.

      It’s refreshing to see a new guy come in and have almost all the fundamentals of his position patted down.

  • Gottsy

    Thanks for the write up Reg, I woke up to find that my sky box had only recorded the first half so am relying on you! Good to get a win at home, it’s impssible to understate how important it is to get some fans back on board. Sounds like it opened up a bit in the second half, would it have been the same if it wasn’t hot as fuck? Hopefully it’s indicative of these boys starting to gel a bit more and find some rhythm, saw the highlight of that botched pass from Sorovi on the line though, happy to see less of that!
    Higgers was big in the first half, it looked like he was playing a bit tighter than usual, if he keeps it up I wouldn’t mind seeing him getting a tap on the shoulder from O’Connor and Johnson.
    Side fuddy duddy note, can someone take McDermott and Powell to the barber and give them decent haircuts??

  • IIPA

    If they keep scheduling games at the SCG there wont be too many proud members left I’ll have to admit. Will be very interesting to see what sort of crowds they pull when they play a couple of matches late season at the new Parramatta Stadium… “anywhere but the SCG” should be their mantra looking at next year

    • Brumby Runner

      How does a Reds Brumbies game thread start discussing the Tahs and the SCG?

  • Brumby Runner

    No excuses from me for the Brumbies’ abysmal showing.They looked like amateurs and played like it. WTF, for example, do they all congregate around the spot Simone is kicking a penalty towards the sideline? Kick misses the sideline, as at least one is bound to do in any game, and there is no defense lined out to counter the opposition attack. And it wasn’t just once they did this, On every penalty, luckily no others missed touch, they were all in a huddle right beside Simone, even after the missed kick.

    Altogether, too much love in. After they concede a try they all huddle around having a group hug, and after scoring themselves they celebrate as though the game has been won. There is an urgent need for some attitudinal changes.

    Reds can be summed up as too strong, too skillful and too quick. The speed of Kerevi, CFS and Naivalu just couldn’t be matched by any of the Brumbies. Time for some changes in the backline I think. But no more midgets (in rugby terms).

    • Wallabrumby

      Surely Simone has to have a rest, he has been poor the last few games, he seems to go missing when the defence is rushing up on him, some very poor handling and no strength in contact to get over the gain line, looks a bit unfit as well. TK also not seeing much ball outside of him. Not sure who else could play there, would like to see JJH get a chance.

      • Brumby Runner

        My preference would be for Hawera to start at 10 and Christian move to 12. Tom Wright was tried but proved to be out of his depth there, but I really would like to see him tried on the wing for a few games to get the feel for the game again. He has impressive speed and wouldn’t be found wanting in that regard.

        The backline as a whole isn’t firing atm and there is little depth cover in a few positions. Might be time for Ikitau to get a run off the bench.

  • Andy

    Very true. But overall i really likes his game. Smart kicking included and great with ball in hand.

  • Jason

    Don’t forget they brought in Pete Samu, among our many other flankers! A touch of patience would be a really nice thing!

ACT Brumbies

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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