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.
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.
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.
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.
The G&GR MOTM
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.
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.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Damien Fitzpatrick, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Will Miller, Brad Wilken
Conversions: Bernard Foley 4
Penalties: Bernard Foley
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)