Brumbies U20’s sweep aside Force
The Brumbies claimed a well-deserved victory in the fourth round of the 2017 Super U20 championship, beating the Western Force U20’s 35-7 at Portsea Oval in Campbell on Sunday.
A superb kicking display by full-back Jamie Kotz, who contributed 20 points including a try, and two scores by Brodie Leber inspired the Brumbies win.
A nervous start by the Brumbies meant the Force controlled the early moments of the game and took the lead when, deciding to run the ball from deep, good defence from the visitors forced a knock on
From the resulting scrum, the Force scored, winger Trey Moloney going over off a simple, first phase strike move. The conversion followed, giving the Perth side an early 7-0 lead.
The Brumbies responded, as they had done throughout the tournament. Good work from the pack gave the hosts good field position, and after a strong carry from winger Kuti Tahau, Leber spotted a hole in the Force defence, worked his feet beautifully, and dotted down. Fullback Kotz added the extras to tie the game.
On the 20-minute mark, the Brumbies took the lead. Captain Ryan Lonergan scooped up a loose ball and advanced into the visitors’ half. The force then conceded a penalty under pressure, which Kotz duly converted into three points.
A tense period followed with neither side able to establish dominance. Off a lineout on the half-way line, the Brumbies moved the ball the width off the field. A good pass from inside-centre Trai Henderson released Kotz, and a good kick and chase by the full-back forced an error by opposite number, Clay Uyen, and the Brumbies were awarded a five-metre scrum.
The Force defended the Brumbies attempts to score effectively, however their indiscipline at the ruck proved costly, a penalty given to the home-team straight in front of goal. Stand out performer Kotz converted the opportunity, meaning the score was now 13-7 to the Brumbies. That was how it remained when the half-time whistle was blown.
The Force came out in the second-half with a point to prove, after a disappointing first forty littered with handling errors and set piece struggles. Powerful centre Kitione Nairubi broke the Brumbies defensive line and seemed certain to score. Somehow, the Brumbies brought him down, and won a penalty from the ruck.
The intensity of the game ramped from then. Hits flew in as tempers flared, with both sides desperate to get their first win of the season.
The Brumbies were playing their hearts out. Finally, they got some reward for their effort. Another penalty conceded by the visitors, this time for going off their feet, gave Kotz the chance to put the Brumbies up by more than one score. With pressure on, and the kick by no means a formality, Kotz delivered, splitting the posts from the tee.
The Brumbies were not done. Brilliant defence by the home side forced a drop-ball by the visitors. Leber, the Brumbies star number eight, who is also a talented sevens player, picked the ball up off the floor and out-paced the Force defence to score in the corner. Kotz was unable to convert, leaving the score at 21-7.
With time running out, Brumbies loose-head Charlie Hancock snuck over to finish the Force. Hancock was the Brumbies unsung hero of the day. His performance in the scrum, against the Force’s highly rated tight-head Shambeckler Vui was phenomenal, not giving an inch for the entire game. Kotz nailed the conversion to extend the lead.
The full-back’s day was not over just yet either. From the kick-off, Tahau beat his man, and broke out of his 22, showing great vision to find Kotz. The speedster pinned his ears and avoided the covering defenders to cap off a great performance by crossing the line. He added the extras to complete a fine afternoon for the Brumbies.
Brumbies U20 35: (T: B. Leber (2), C. Hancock, J. Kotz, C: J. Kotz (3), P: J. Kotz (3))
Western Force U20: 7 (T: T.Moloney, C: A. Hondros)
Words: Rian Murphy