Two tries from fullback Jesse Mogg saw the Brumbies secure a comfortable 24-6 victory over the Reds in Canberra on Saturday.
It was a windy Saturday night in Canberra with 17 058 spectators to watch the match. But it was not a great match. In the second half there was one burst of phase play and a try off an intercept. For the rest there was little continuity, fluency of flair.
There were 21 penalties in the match, which was not excessive (13-8 to the Brumbies) but 15 (9-6) of those penalties were for infringements at the tackle, and this is where the game largely died.
The other surprise of sorts was the poor goal-kicking. The Brumbies, who used four kickers, missed four penalty attempts at goal, the Reds three.
Far and away the best Brumbies weapon was their defence, excellently marshalled and excellent in execution.
The Reds had the first use of the wind and started reasonably well., but they missed two of their three penalty attempts in the first six minutes. Mike Harris goaled the first one on the half-way line but straight in front and then missed two. After 2 minutes the Reds led 3-0.
The referee was playing advantage when Nic White went to the short side and grubbered behind the flat Red defenders. The ball bounced benignly in the in-goal and Jesse Mogg was there to ground it. 5-3 after 8 minutes.
Christian Lealiifano missed a sitter before Harris goaled when three of the Brumbies' forwards advanced ahead of a kick and were penalised. This one was from 40 metres out and in front. 6-5 after 24 minutes.
That was the last time the Reds scored. They missed a penalty attempt in the second half but at not time during the match did they look like scoring a try.
Just before half-time Digby Ioane was penalised at a tackle and White goaled splendidly. 8-6 to the home side after 36 minutes.
There was not a lot of fun in the first half and even less in the second as the Brumbies' dominated possession and territory and the Reds hardly ever got out of their half. The Reds were penalised at a scrum, and Mogg goaled. 11-6 after 50 minutes. Eddie Quirk was penalised at a tackle, and Mogg goaled. 14-6 after 57 minutes.
The Brumbies' had a set of phases and Liam Gill had a run on the right.
White goaled a tackle penalty. 17-6 with five minutes to play.
The Reds tried passing back and forth. Quade Cooper tries a long pass to his right which Mogg, now playing on the left wing, intercepted and the tall man strode down for the try. Robbie Coleman converted.
Man of the Match: David Pocock was effective at the tackle in his debut match for the Brumbies, his 50th Super Rugby match but our choice is tall fullback Jesse Mogg, for two tries, two penalty goals and several raking touchfinders.
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Mogg 2
Pens: White 2, Mogg 2
For the Reds:
Pens: Harris 2
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 David Pocock, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Colby Faingaa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Joseph Tomane, 22 Robbie Coleman.
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Aidan Toua, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 James Hanson, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Chris F'Sautia.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia) Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)