Two tries to comeback king Clyde Rathbone and another to new man on the block David Pocock have highlighted a 38-7 win by the University of Canberra Brumbies over the ACT XV at Viking Park on Friday night.
Friday’s brace makes three tries in two games for Rathbone, who has only recently returned to the Brumbies and the rugby field after a three-year hiatus. The match was the University of Canberra Brumbies final trial before season proper starts next Saturday night against Queensland’s Reds.
After conceding the first try thanks to a Stephan Van Der Walt intercept and 90m dash, the University of Canberra Brumbies took control of the match eventually grinding their opponents to a halt. Tries came for the Brumbies forwards and backs, with Jesse Mogg, Nic White and Stephen Moore also registering five-pointers.
Brumbies Rugby Head Coach Jake White said he was pleased to get his side through the game injury free and looked forward to the main event against the Reds next Saturday night.
“To give seven points away and still come back and score almost forty was a positive. You’re never completely happy but it was a good hit-out for us,” White said.
“It’s fantastic that everyone looks like they’ve come through the game uninjured and while we still haven’t got 80 minutes into all the players’ legs we are getting there. I think Joe, Pup [Matt Toomua] and Christian had 60 while Benny Mowen got the full 80 in so we are working nicely towards the Reds.
“I thought Matt played very well tonight. When you consider he hasn’t played two games together in almost a year he was very impressive. He was brave, he carried the ball to the line and those are things I want him to do as a 10. That helps a guy like Christian get the space he needs too.
“We’re going to pick a team we think can beat the Reds. If I do have a selection headache then that’s fantastic, that’s what I need.”
Following Van Der Walt’s length of the field effort, the Brumbies made their first impact on the scoreboard through Pocock who burrowed over from close range.
Just minutes later Mogg crossed the line after finding himself on the end of a sweeping backline movement that went from midfield to the right touchline. It wasn’t the last time that fluidity would be seen in the first 40, with Rathbone looking to pick up where he left off last week in Darwin finishing a clinical display by the backs to run under the posts and score.
With Lealiifano making the most of his time in front of goal, eventually finishing the night with four from six attempts, the Brumbies went to the break leading 21-7.
Moore drew first blood five minutes into the second half, burrowing over from close range to give the Brumbies a three-try buffer. His try was followed by a similar effort from White, who capitalised on a quality break and deliver from Brumbies big man Scott Sio.
Sio steam rolled his way into space, popping the ball to support which ushered White over the line from just metres out.
Moments later all eyes were again on Rathbone as the stocky winger stormed the right touchline in front of the majority of the Brumbies fans to bag his second try of the evening.
The University of Canberra Brumbies face the Reds next Saturday night at Canberra Stadium in the competition’s season opener, with kick-off at 7.40pm.
University of Canberra Brumbies 38 (Clyde Rathbone 2, Nic White, David Pocock, Stephen Moore, Jesse Mogg tries; Christian Lealiifano 4 cons) bt ACT XV 7 (Stephan Van Der Walt try; Sam Windsor con).
University of Canberra Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Dan Palmer
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Peter Kimlin
7. David Pocock
8. Ben Mowen
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Clyde Rathbone
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Andrew Smith
14. Joe Tomane
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruaidhri Murphy
18. Colby Faingaa
19. Leon Power
20. Fotu Auelua
21. Ian Prior
22. Robbie Coleman
23. Tevita Kuridrani
24. Jordan Rapana
25. Zack Holmes
26. Ruan Smith