14 Jul Brilliant Brumbies End Season in Style
Their season may have ended at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday evening, results elsewhere stymying the Brumbies chances of progression to the Super Rugby Quarter Finals, but the future looks bright following a tremendous display of attacking rugby as the visitors stunned the Waratahs to claim a 40-31 victory.
Pace, penetration, power and verve were in abundance as the ACT side ran in six tries in a stunning performance to cap an exhilarating eighty minutes of rugby, in which those in the blue shirts played their part to the full, the Brumbies retaining the Dan Vickerman Cup in the process.
The Brumbies stated their intent early with a score in only the second minute. The Waratahs attacked down the left flank but when they spread the ball wide fullback Tom Banks read the intention and intercepted to race three-quarters of the length of the pitch to cross behind the posts. Christian Lealiifano added the extras.
A Bernard Foley penalty reduced the deficit to 3-7 but the Brumbies upped the ante and scored again in the twelfth minute. A sustained period of attack saw the ball go through several pairs of hands before Richie Arnold, starting alongside his brother Rory for the first time, trundled over under the sticks making Lealiifano’s conversion a formality.
The visitors weren’t done and, after sustaining a succession of Waratahs attacks, broke sharply again setting up a position in the Waratahs twenty-two, paving the way for the big number eight Isi Naisarani to gleefully dive over, again under the uprights. Lealiifano made it three from three and the Brumbies led 21-3.
The Australian Conference winners hit back with the Brumbies down to fourteen following the sin-binning of Folau Fainga’a, when hooker Damien Fitzpatrick forced his way over the line, Foley adding the extras, but it was Dan McKellar’s sparkling Brumbies team that ended the half on a high.
A wayward clearance from the ‘Tahs was gathered by the outstanding Banks who took on the line and fed the ball wide to left wing Andrew Muirhead. There was still plenty to do for the wide-man, but he did it in style, busting through a gap before streaking away from the covering Israel Folau to score in the corner and put the Brumbies 26-10 ahead at the interval.
The Brumbies continued to run free early in the second half when offload after offload resulted in Lachlan McCaffrey sending Kyle Godwin onto a solo run that saw the centre step inside, chip over the covering defence, and accelerate through to re-gather and force his way over for a sensational score. Lealiifano made it 33-10 with the conversion.
Bustling Waratahs winger Taiqele Naiyaravoro crashed his way over in the 53rd minute to reduce the gap, the huge winger’s fifteenth try of the season raising home hopes of a remarkable recovery. Flanker Will Miller followed him over, intercepting a wayward Wharenui Hawera pass to scamper away with Foley bagging the extras as the gap shrunk to nine points with six minutes remaining.
But the Brumbies continued until the very end. The outstanding Tevita Kuridrani brushed off Naiyaravoro and Curtis Rona to chip ahead for replacement winger Lausii Taliauli, who read the bounce perfectly, to collect and race clear. Hawera slotted the conversion to wrap up a thoroughly pleasing evening that not even a last-minute try from Brad Wilkin could spoil.
Waratahs (10) 31 (T: Fitzpatrick, Naiyaravoro, Miller, Wilkin, C: Foley (4), P: Foley)
Plus500 Brumbies (26) 40 (T: Banks, Rich Arnold, Naisarani, Muirhead, Godwin, Taliauli, C: Lealiifano (4), Hawera)
1. Nic MAYHEW (17. Ben ALEXANDER 62’), 2. Folau FAINGA’A (16. Connal MCINERNEY 75’), 3. Allan ALAALATOA (18. Leslie LEULUAIAILII-MAKIN 62’), 4. Rory ARNOLD, 5. Richie ARNOLD (19. Sam CARTER 54’), 6. Blake ENEVER (19. Sam CARTER 39’-40’, 5. Richie ARNOLD 70’), 7. David POCOCK, 8. Isi NAISARANI (20. Lachlan MCCAFFREY 23’, 16. Connal MCINERNEY 27’-34’), 9. Joe POWELL (21. Matt LUCAS 62’), 10. Christian LEALIIFANO (22. Wharenui HAWERA 62’), 11. Andrew MUIRHEAD, 12. Kyle GODWIN, 13. Tevita KURIDRANI, 14. Henry SPEIGHT (23. Lausii TALIAULI 37’), 15. Tom BANKS
YELLOW CARD: 2. Folau FAINGA’A 24’