08 Feb ‘Tahs Win Completes Plus500 Brumbies Preseason Sweep
Preseason is officially over and after a hard fought win against the Waratahs in Goulburn, the Plus500 Brumbies are ready to roll into round one against the Rebels next Friday, 15 February.
Following the Brumbies victory over the Rebels on Australia day, it was important for Dan McKellar’s charges to continue building momentum towards the season opener.
The Brumbies didn’t disappoint, dominant in all aspects of play whilst scoring five tries though the ‘Tahs did make things interesting in the closing moments after two late scores of their own.
From the off, the trial was played at Super Rugby intensity and it was the Brumbies who would draw first blood.
Lausii Taliauli found himself at first receiver following a typically tidy Brumbies maul and busted through to score a wonderful try despite the efforts of two ‘Tahs defenders.
The Waratahs hit back quickly, but the Brumbies were able to restore their lead in the 22nd minute through the boot of Christian Lealiifano, who lead the side for the first time since being named captain for the 2019 season.
Then, as the hooter sounded to end period one, Irae Simon struck to extend the Brumbies lead. Taking a Folau Fainga’a pop on the gainline, the bruising centre was able to slip through cover and raced away under the sticks for a cracking five pointer.
Fainga’a then added a try of his own after the break, steering another quality Brumbies drive over the line. Lealiifano was unable to add the extras on this occasion, the score now 22 – 7 to the Brumbies.
Impressive throughout, the Brumbies continued to ride their dominant pack and after the heavies punched one too many holes in the ‘Tahs defence, Tevita Kuridrani was able to sneak through to consolidate the Brumbies advantage.
Rookie tighthead Tom Ross followed suit minutes later, taking advantage of some lacklustre Sydney interior defence to crawl over the line. Hawera’s radar was good from the conversion, pushing the Brumbies lead out to 27 points.
The ‘Tahs were far from out of the game, however. The likes of former Brumby Adam Ashley-Cooper and Jake Gordon certainly gave NSW some punch in the final third, but it would be flanker Lachie Swinton who would take the fruits for the ‘Tahs.
His back to back efforts would be the final scored of the game, both of which Mack Mason duly converted but it wasn’t enough, and the Brumbies held on for a well deserved victory, 34-28.
A gloss applied to the final tally for the ‘Tahs, in truth, the Brumbies dominated in most aspects on the field, particularly up front at scrum time.
The win was of course the most pleasing thing for the Brumbies, but there were plenty of other positives to gleam from the trial, particularly from some of the new additions to the squad.
Toni Pulu, James Slipper and Irae Simone seem to be fitting in very well with the starters in preseason, Pulu’s leadership and poise with ball in hand being something for Brumbies fans to get excited about heading into 2019.
Ross and his fellow first-year prop, Vunipola Fifita didn’t look a step out of place in the set-piece exchanges. Backline youngsters Bayley Kuenzle and Len Ikitau showcased their continued development with classy cameos from the reserves as well.
2019 recruits Pete Samu and Murray Douglas were impressive off the bench as was league-convert Tom Wright who, despite playing only his second game of Union since high-school, looked extremely dangerous will ball in hand.
No match points to put in the bank, but after going two for two in preseason, the sun appears to be shining over the Brumbies Super Rugby fortunes for 2019.
With insights and lessons taken from their two trial matches, the Brumbies will look to hit the ground running as they look to reclaim superiority over the Australian conference.
Join the Brumbies Family today and get behind the team as we prepare to take on the the Melbourne Rebels Friday, February 15 at GIO Stadium.
The Plus500 Brumbies would like to thank Goulburn Mulwaree Council for their support of the trial match vs the Waratahs.