The Brumbies and Waratahs kicked of their 2016 campaign with a trial match in Wagga with the Waratahs running out 21-17 winners with a late try sealing the win.
Both sides rested the majority of their Wallabies contingent, so it was left up to other squad members and fringe squad members to show the coaching staff what they were capable of.
Waratahs captain Dave Dennis didn’t get much time on the field after taking a big hit from Nigel Ah Wong and had to leave the field within the opening five minutes.
New recruits Zac Guildford and Reece Robinson were keen to get into the game, with both moving into first receiver at times to get their hands on the ball.
The Brumbies first try came late in the the 11th minute via a rolling maul after making a few tweaks to their potent weapon after new interpretations were released with Josh Mann-Rea awarded the five pointer.
In the second quarter, the Waratahs enjoyed the better of the play and after some scrappy play, the ball ended up with Dave Horwitz to go over in the corner. Andrew Deegan converted from the sideline, despite some friendly country ‘advice’ from those on the other side of the fence, to give the Waratahs a 7-5 lead.
Just before the half time break, the Brumbies took advantage of a quick tap from close range and Allan Alaalatoa barged over to put the Brumbies back in front, with Toomua’s simple conversion making it 12-7.
After the half time break, both sides made a number of changes with the Brumbies depth and combinations the better of the two with the Waratahs having to make a number of tackles as the Brumbies used their one out attack to good use.
Ultimately it lead to Michael Wells scoring out wide at the end of a neat backline move to give the Brumbies a 17-7 lead.
The Waratahs were finally able to get their hands on the ball late in the quarter but their best chance to hit back came to nothing.
They started the final quarter with more of the ball but their ball security in key areas on the field let them down.
But when they fianlly held onto the ball, it was new recruit Bryce Hegarty who scored after Harry Jones put them in good field position down the left wing. Hegarty converted his own try to make it 17-14 with ten minutes remaining.
The last ten minutes had a bit of everything for both sides. Joe Powell made a break for the Brumbies that came to nothing and the Waratahs went within a whisker of scoring.
But with just two minutes to go, the Waratahs capitalised on the back pedalling Brumbies defence and reserve prop Angus Ta’avao was rewarded for his strong game with a try under the posts to seal the game 21-17.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Mann-Rea, Alaalatoa, Wells
Tries: Horwitz, Hegarty, Ta’avao
Conversions: Deegan, Hegarty 2