Brumbies shake off the cobwebs
PRE-SEASON REPORT: The Brumbies claimed a comfortable victory in their opening trial of the season as they defeated the Australian Barbarians 59-0 at Viking Park in Erindale.
The Canberra tries scored nine tries and shook off the cobwebs with some enterprising attacking rugby.
In a match played across twenty minute quarters, there was intent from the Brumbies from the off as they tore into the Barbarians, recycling quick possession and racking up the phases.
Joe Powell's sharpness at the breakdown was evident and it was the scrumhalf who created the opening score in the fourth minute spraying a flat pass wide that went through several pairs of hands, culminating in Andrew Muirhead crossing in the corner.
It wasn't long before the home fans were cheering again as the Brumbies went over for a second try. Wharenui Hawera kicked to touch from a penalty and, after successfully claiming the resultant line-out, the Brumbies drove forward and Chris Alcock was on hand to pick up and force his way over from close range, Hawera converting from wide out.
And the Brumbies had a third try to celebrate before the end of the first quarter, Aidan Toua on the end of a backline move that carved open the space for the fullback to sprint through. Hawera landed a second impressive conversion as the Brumbies took control.
The highlight of a one-sided opening half was probably the score from Josh Mann-Rea in the 27th minute, the hooker on hand to benefit from a silky one-handed offload from Ben Alexander to crash over after sustained pressure close to the Barbarians tryline. Hawera's third successful kick gave the Brumbies a 26-0 half-time lead.
A raft of changes at the interval meant that the Brumbies fluidity and cohesion was lacking in the early stages of the third quarter allowing the Barbarians some much needed possession and territory and, indirectly, leading to a yellow card for replacement flank Jordan Smiler, sent to the sin bin for a late tackle.
Some fierce Barbarians tackling, coupled with some errors from the Brumbies with ball in hand, meant that the third quarter degenerated into a scrappy affair. To their credit, both teams attempted to keep the ball alive at every opportunity, not helped by the energy sapping heat.
The introduction of prop Faalelei Sione in the fourth quarter had an immediate impact at scrum-time, the youngster helping the pack force the Barbarians onto the back foot with referee Nick Berry awarding a penalty try when a scrum close to the line was collapsed. Under the new law amendment trial the score was awarded the full seven points with no conversion required.
Shortly after the Brumbies had their sixth score as Jordan Jackson-Hope skipped through a tackle to cross, Isaac Thompson adding the extras and the flyhalf bagged another conversion moments later as Ben Hyne was rewarded for a quality display, forcing his way through a plethora of bodies to touch down under the posts.
And the scoring was rounded off in the final minute with a brace of tries as Jamie Kotz chased through a Mac Hanen grubber to win the race to the ball, before Jackson-Hope crossed for his second, converted by Henry Speight, to finish off a satisfactory evening.
Tries: Muirhead, Alcock, Toua, Mann-Rea, Penalty Try, Jackson-Hope 2, Hyne, Kotz
Cons: Hawera 3, Thompson 2, Speight, Penalty Try (automatic conversion)
For Australian Barbarians: None
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Andrew Muirhead, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements - from: Robbie Abel, Faalelei Sione, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Blake Enever, Jordan Smiler, Tomas Cubelli, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Mac Hansen, Ryan Lonergan, Isaac Thompson, Ben Hyne, Saia Fainga’a, Jamie Kotz, Henry Speight.
Australian Barbarians: David Lolohea, 15 Junior Laloifi, 14 Matt Hawke, 13 Tom Hill, 12 Andrew Robinson, 11 Sione Taufa, 10 Aj Alatimu, 9 Dewet Roos, 8 Tyrone Viiga, 7 Will Miller, 6 Will Munro, 5 Tom Alexander, 4 Adrian Hall, 3 Rory O’Connor, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 David Lolohea.
Replacements - from: Brandon Paenga-Amos, Laione Mulikhaamea, Phillip Kite, Tyrell Barker, Dean Oakman-Hunt, Edan Campbell-O’Brien, Ben Johnson, Manihera Eden, Matt Narracott.
Referee: Nic Berry
Source: @BrumbiesRugby (pic: brumbies.com.au)