Force wilt in Darwin heat

In their first hit-out of the year, the University of Canberra Brumbies have put in a solid performance running out 25-0 winners over the Western Force in Darwin.

The University of Canberra Brumbies led from start to finish, laying on tries to Ben Hand and Christian Lealiifano, as well as five penalties split between Nic White and Zack Holmes.

In all 30 players made an appearance during the trial fixture, which was played in front of 3500 Territorians and interstate rugby pilgrims. Manof the Match Matt Toomua had an excelllent night and has come into his own as an accomplished footballer.

On a typically warm, damp and sweaty Darwin night, the University of Canberra Brumbies looked like a team that had played together for years, with combinations in the backline starting to flourish from the outset.

Tevita Kuridrani, Joe Tomane and Ian Prior were prominent in the first half, while John I Dent star Tom Murday did his own chances of squad promotion no harm with a quality 40-minute performance.

Leon Power and Ben Mowen also impressed while Academy graduates Jesse Mogg, Anthony Hegarty, Jono Owen, Cam Crawford and Sam Carter all looked comfortable in the University of Canberra Brumbies jersey.

In all, it was an encouraging display for University of Canberra Brumbies fans. Cohesion was clearly evident and above all the team was remarkably fit, running the Force around the park and out of puff.

Skipper for the match and veteran lock Ben Hand opened the scoring with a nice try just right of the posts. Hand played a big part in driving the team forward during the opening exchanges forcing the West Australians to rethink their game plan of slowing down the ball.

The University of Canberra Brumbies moved further ahead, with penalties to Zack Holmes giving the ACT based side room to breathe moving into the half time break.
A blistering break by Tom Cox in the first half also gave fans plenty to talk about with the lightening winger exploding onto the ball and going close to making it all the way to the try line.

Lealiifano’s try was a close range effort off the back of mounting pressure. After seven phases the clever playmaker found a small gap and dove over to grab a five-pointer.

“I was pleased with the way things went tonight, but we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, this is just a trial and there is still plenty of room for improvement,” Head Coach Jake White said.

“The score isn’t a true indication of how things went tonight. The Force weren’t taking their shots at goal and we were, but I’m still very pleased with the effort."

In more good news for the University of Canberra Brumbies the team almost came through the match unscathed with Jerry Yanuyanutawa the only casualty after suffering a head knock.

The Force looked scratchy from the outset but will regroup with the addition of David Pocock and Nathan Sharpe for their round one clash at Canberra Stadium.

The University of Canberra Brumbies will now travel to Brisbane to face the Reds before returning to Canberrra to play the ACT XV on February 16.

University of Canberra Brumbies 25 (Ben Hand, Christian Lealiifano tries; Zack Holmes 3, Nic White 2, pens) bt Force 0. Rugby Park, Darwin. Crowd: 3500.