Review - Waratahs v Brumbies - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Review – Waratahs v Brumbies

Review – Waratahs v Brumbies

The Rebels have slammed the door shut on the Brumbies last chance of making the finals this year. While the Waratahs are sitting comfortably on top of the Aussie conference and can’t be shoved off it. So there’s nothing to play for here. Except of course the usual grudge match these two sides save for each other. Situation normal then. 

Lealiifano offloads.

Lealiifano offloads.

The Match

First Half

The Brumbies started the game like wild horses destroying Australia’s delicate flora beneath their hard feral hooves. I’ll stop now I promise. But seriously, the Brumbies racked up 21 points in under 20 minutes and the Waratahs had no answers.

Tom Banks intercepted and rubbed salt into the wound he’d gouged by running around the cover defence to dot down under the posts. Richie Arnold and Isirela Naisarani both added tries quickly after as Christain Lealiifano wound back the years and played merry havoc with the Tahs close defence. Only the sin-binning of Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a gave a sniff to the Waratahs attack but it took a full eight minutes of the numerical advantage for Damien Fitzpatrick to dot down and Andrew Muirhead negated that seconds after the restart when Banks spotted a weakness in the Waratahs sideline defence and drew two defenders to put him through the hole and Muirhead took care of what seemed like the other 13 defenders. The Halftime score was 26-10.

Kuridrani weathers some heavy treatment.

Kuridrani weathers some heavy treatment.

Second Half

The second half settled into a more structured type of game. Still, the Brumbies controlled vast amounts of possession and clearly won every part of the game except the restart.

Kyle Godwin scored the first try of the half and it was such a sweet piece of play it deserves special mention. With the Brumbies running the ball out from deep in their half Godwin received the ball under pressure and stepped inside the defence and accelerated through the line, he then chipped over Folau, recovered the kicked and out ran the cover defence to score to the left of the posts. It was a truly beautiful piece of play.

The rest of the half was kind of score for score. The Brumbies hit back every time the Waratahs scored and, to me, it looked like they were never in danger of losing. Of course, the other highlight of the game was referee Angus Gardner getting wiped out in a tackle and then complimenting the players on a “good hit”

The final score of 40-31 was a fairly good representation of how the teams played.

Tom Banks switched on the afterburners to score the game first try.

Tom Banks switched on the afterburners to score the game’s first try.

The Game Changer

Tom Banks’ intercept and runaway try a couple of minutes into the game set the scene for things to come and the Waratahs never recovered. The Brumbies seemed to grow in belief from that moment on.


There were some great moments out there but I’m going to pick someone who might seem a little surprising if you’ve only read my report. But Tevita Kuridrani was the rock the Brumbies defence was built on and he made plenty of metres in attack, set up a try and was elusive with the ball.

Wallaby watch

Ritchie Arnold had a good game. Tom Banks was solid. Both should be considered for the Wallaby training squad. All the usual suspects were there or abouts but the Waratahs key player in Beale and Folau seemed to have their minds on next weeks game and not this one. Andrew Muirhead showed enough to be noticed for something besides his man bun.

Dan Vickerman Trophy claimed by Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano.

Dan Vickerman Trophy claimed by Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano.

The Details


Score & Scorers

Waratahs: 31
Tries: Damien Fitzpatrick, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Will Miller, Brad Wilken
Conversions: Bernard Foley 4
Penalties: Bernard Foley
Brumbies: 40
Tries: Tom Banks, Richie Arnold, Isirela Naisarani, Andrew Muirhead, Kyle Godwin, Lausii Taliauli
Conversions: Christian Lealiifano 4, Hawera

Cards & citings

Folau Fainga’a (YC), Tom Staniforth (YC)

Nic Mayhew drags Robretson along for the ride.

Nic Mayhew drags Robertson along for the ride.

  • Brumby Runner

    Sully, you are right on the money in saying the Brumbies won the contest everywhere but in the air. Folau and Hanigan were exceptional on the restarts, and they did have quite a bit of practice at them.

    Both Arnolds were impressive and good big men beat good small men tonight. Hard to disagree about Kuridrani – he had it all over Rona and should have done enough to re-earn the Wallaby 13 spot, if his late injury doesn’t preclude him. Pocock had his usual top notch game.

    On the Tahs side, the only times they looked really threatening was when running the ball down their laft flank, with Folau and Naiyaravoro both very involved. Otherwise, Nick Phipps was again disappointing missing quite a few tackles in cover defense which is mostly touted as one of his strengths. The Tahs lineout was most ineffective.

    In summary, Powell outplayed Phipps; the Arnolds and Sam Carter were all more effective than Rob Simmons (Sam even ran further in one break than I reckon Rob ran all night). Allan Alaalatoa outplayed Sekope Kepu. A lot of evidence in this game that changes are due in the Wallabies’ lineup.

    • Bobas
    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I’m not certain Alaalatoa outplayed Kepu, I thought both did well, but he definitely outplayed Tom Robertson!

      Banks gave Folau a lesson, and Faingaa was the best hooker on the park by some margin also.

      • Brumby Runner

        Agree with your comment on FF. He really should have got time on the field in the June tests, but now there is no excuse for him not getting time in the RC.

        Alaalatoa would have had probably nearly twice the involvements of Kepu through the whole of the match. His workload is really out of this world for a THP, just like Tupou for the Reds. And it was on Kepu’s side of the scrum that the Tahs again had problems. The time is now for a changing of the guard.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, look, Kepu is a very good scrummager and Tom Robertson has always been a poor scrummager. If the scrum had problems on Kepu’s side then I expect it is either because the hooker was helping out Robertson the entire time, or because the referees had no idea.

          Kepu had some good runs, and didn’t miss any tackles.

          Kepu also has runs on the board at the international level.

          It is pretty clear to me that Tupou, Kepu, Sio and Alaalatoa are our best props, and given that Alaalatoa can play both sides they’re the four I would have in the team for the first Bledisloe. I wouldn’t start Tupou against the All Blacks, but I would against Argentina.

        • Andy

          I’d agree with that. But in fairness to Robertson he has been good this year. Much improved from last season and he does offer good work rate around the ground.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He is great around the park, but he is on the absolute smallest size for a hooker, let alone a prop.

  • Pedro

    Not quite nothing to play for, the Dan Vickerman cup was retained by the brumbies.

    It’s a shame the brums took so long to click because they never looked troubled by the finals bound tahs.

    I thought Kyle Godwin had his best game I’ve ever seen in brumby colours. Entertaining match with tk a worthy motm, looked dangerous at all times, especially impressive in defense.

    Thanks for the write up Sully.

    • Brumby Runner

      Yeah, Pedro, they found form just too late. On their form against finals bound sides in the past three weeks, they arguably, and imo, are now the top performing side in the Aus conference. Beat the Canes (second on ladder points), unlucky to lose in a close game to the Chiefs (3rd on ladder points?), and a very handy win over the Tahs (top of the conference).

      Too true about Godwin. He has improved out of sight the last few games but there is still room for more improvement in his decision making. Why he would try a chip kick when under knock on advantage after a long period of defending by the team is beyond me. His first inclination in some situations seems to be to kick the ball. Would have been much more intelligent to take the tackle and if the ruck went wrong to rely on the advantage to be applied for a likely scrum win.

      • Andy

        Always though Godwin has true potential as a 10. His kicking and passing is up to scratch, he has good feet and rarely misses his man in D. Shame we will not see this tried in the near future

  • Adrian

    Thanks Shane.
    I sure didn’t tip it

    • Bobas

      at least foley is kicking well off the tea, maybe he should shave his ginger goatee though

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well they have been training really hard on the paddock!

  • Bobas

    Folau took to social media, upset that the Brumbies played with gay abandon.

    • disqus_NMX

      Ha ha, how long have you been waiting to drop that one for?!

  • Adrian

    I think this is a well timed kick in the arse for a few of the players in blue, and a confidence builder for the Brum players who’ll make the Wallabies squad.

    Doesn’t worry me at all

    • Archie

      Although Adrian, it could be a costly result in the context of the comp… because of that loss the Waratahs opened the door for the Lions to overtake them, which they have done overnight. This means the likely semi final for the Tahs is a nice long trip to Joberg (rather than getting to put their feet up and wait for the Lions in Sydney).

      • Adrian

        You are right, but if Jags beat Lions, I think semi in Sydney,…but not sure.

        I also don’t mind playing Highlanders first up, compared to playing Jags.

        I really rate the Jags

  • Hoss

    Morning all,

    Tahs will need a good tooth brush this morning as they had their arses fed to them last night.

    Second place obviously not a big enough motivator.

    Well done Ponies, terrific intensity, great skills and right result, shame it was like French kissing your grandmother – doesn’t lead anywhere further.

    TK just made the gold 13 his own – where has that been all year?

    Tah’s will live to fight another day and get heads right. One tip though, ‘go left’ can’t be a game plan, it’s a political persuasion not a fucking blueprint for winning rugby and this second line NRL bullshit attack, even Mrs Hoss said last night ‘why do they keep doing that’.

    Last but not least – thank you Gus Gardner, best on field by some way and how a game should be reffed – Lyndon ‘no fucking idea’ Bray please rewind,rewatch and apply.

    • Keith Butler

      Thanks Hoss, the thought of playing tonsil hockey with my grannie nearly made me cough up my poached eggs on toast. The Ponies were very good value for their win and just made it a lot harder for the Tahs to progress beyond the semis. As for my Rebs, another game thrown away due to poor decision making. WTF is Mafi doing taking a tap and going on a lone charge to nowhere. Should have been a kick to the corner. Avoids the prospect of a massacre in Christchurch though.

      • Gun

        Love to have seen the Rebs go further but the results don’t warrant it. Next Year! I’m glad Mafi is off, good player but his decision making is poor and he plays for himself.

        • Adrian

          Can’t agree Gun, Mafi will be a huge loss, best #8 in the world IMO.

          Rebs need decent leadership around him, and miss Genia and Coleman when they aren’t playing

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree. I think he and Faletau have been the best over the past two seasons.

          Although picking up Naisrani will be a big boost too. Naisarani is better in the line out.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      TK was actually playing decently in the few weeks leading up to the June series. I think being dropped was the kick up the arse he needed as his performances the last 2-3 weeks have been up there with the best I’ve ever seen him put in. Even his skills last night were terrific!

      • Pedro

        Yeah, I agree, TK wasn’t standing out early in the season but his form has steadily impsoved. He was never really playing badly either, just not as involved as we’re used to. I would’ve still played him against the Irish, just based on his defense.

  • Rob Malcolm

    Brumbies pack too good – Arnolds in particular.
    TK and Rory played themselves into Gold starters. Powell onto the pine.
    Tahs won’t get to Joburg, let alone Christchurch, on that performance

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Powell comprehensively outplayed Phipps (our current backup halfback) and Gordon?

  • Andy

    Being out-enthused by a team with nothing to play for, other than pride. Very poor showing from the tahs especially on front of their own fans. And for the Brumbies, really well played but a shame it’s taken all season to get the team rolling….

    Some of the defence was the worst I’ve seen from a super team this year. Beale and Phipps should be ashamed of themselves. Clearly didn’t think 100% was required.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      What about Foley falling over in front of Muirhead for Muirhead’s try?

      • Brumby Runner

        I think Foley was the last man to miss Taliauli in his try as well.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The “Iceman”…

        • Pedro

          He was, but it would have been tough to stop with the momentum.

      • Andy

        I saw 4 Waratahs players throw a hand at Muirhead for that try. Phipps is the only one I could identify before I marched out of the room an ran a cold bath……

        • Brumby Runner

          Rob Simmons was the first man beaten. Good thing he hasn’t been beaten up as the world’s best defender.

      • IIPA

        Riiiight….so slipping over is cause to slag a bloke ?

  • Damo

    2 games yesterday. Brumbies proved offloads work. Rebels proved box kicks don’t.

    • Bakkies

      To be able to box kick you need to know how to kick. It is the most difficult kick after a drop kick and most Australian kickers struggle with that.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Disappointing effort from the Tahs. But close to what I expected. I always feared the Tahs have been far from the finished product this season while the Nags were coming good late in the season. I watched at game so all comments based on that.
    Kepu had the red mist descend too often. Looked like at least 3 dumb penalties from usually coming into the ruck well off side. One from behind Saffer style.
    Fitzpatrick looks OK but not great despite his try. Latu seems more an SR player. Overall our line out which had been good this season seemed to be throwing to 6 far too often. And failing. Nags didn’t own lineouts but we list too many on own ball.
    Scrum seemed messy but not flawed. I do think there were a few of the usual WTF penalties against us from Gus but he’s not alone as a red there.
    Once again I think (as an ex lock) our big issue is not having two big mongerel dogs there. Holloway did OK but is probably more a 6 or 8, or needs a big unit with him. Simmons is too anonymous too often.
    Hanigan played well after being a bit hot and cold recently. Back row looks better without Hooper imho. Miller a good 7. Wells played OK but has played better. I think nags matched him was issue.
    Phipps is a massive issue for Tahs and I have said it for years. We got rid of the wrong 9 when Lucas went to nags.
    Foley ok but stuck with Phipps. He’s good without ever being great. The back line kept sliding laterally and never really looked like breaking line which nags always threatened with us. And did.
    Not sure why Beale went off but Hegarty looked fine slotting in. Taqele owned speight and broke him but softvin defence.
    Izzy has serious issues forcing the pass. At least three times lost the ball trying to get it away when should have just taken the tackle. Trying too hard.

    • Brumby Runner

      Great summary of the Tahs as a team and some of the individuals in the side. If it’s true they are losing Folau and Naiyaravoro for 2019, then they will have a lot of trouble scoring tries next season.

      I heartily agree that Miller looks a more complete No 7 than Michael Hooper, who should now move to No 8 for the Tahs and the bench for the Wallabies.

ACT Brumbies

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

More in ACT Brumbies