Jake's Brumbies end 40-year drought
Jake's Brumbies end 40-year droughtSHARE
The Brumbies became the first Australian state side in more than 40 years to beat the British and Irish Lions when they won 14-12 in dramatic fashion on Tuesday.
It may not have been the B&I Lions' first-choice team, but that mattered not.
The Jake White-coached Brumbies were also without five Wallabies and another five injured players.
It was a show of desire and determination by the home team, which also scored the only try in front of a bumper crowd of 21,655.
Lions captain Rory Best admitted after the game that the Brumbies "wanted it more" and they were beaten up front.
It ended the tourists' unbeaten streak on their 2013 tour.
In recording the historic victory over the Lions the Brumbies became the first provincial team in Australia to defeat the Lions since Queensland in 1971 and the first provincial team to beat them anywhere in the world since Northern Transvaal, now the Blue Bulls, in 1997.
The field was slippery, but firm and hopes were high for some open, running rugby to warm up the chilly ACT air.
The Lions started well and recalled Welsh wizard Shane Williams was bundled into touch metres from the line in the first minute.
But it was the Brumbies who were first to score through a sharp counter attack in the sixth minute. A clearing kick was fielded by fullback Jesse Mogg, who floated a long pass to returning centre Andrew Smith.
Smith charged down the left flank before passing inside to young centre Kuridrani, who had two to beat. But with ease the 22-year-old shrugged off English wing Christian Wade while simultaneously stepping inside Irish fullback Rob Kearney to score.
Scrumhalf Ian Prior hit the post with the conversion to leave the score at 5-0.
Scottish flyhalf Stuart Hogg had the chance to reduce the deficit on 20 minutes, but his well-struck penalty also struck the upright.
The Brumbies were almost in again three minutes later, but good defence from Kearney this time cut out flank Colby Fainga'a's pass to the unmarked Smith, who had a clear run to the line.
Mogg missed a long range penalty on 31 minutes that would have put the Brumbies further ahead, as did Prior six minutes later – two missed opportunities that the home team might come back to rue.
But Mogg had another chance a minute later and this time the bearded fullback was successful to put the Brumbies up 8-0 in the shadow of half-time.
But after the siren the Lions were given a penalty for a breakdown infringement and Hogg reduced the deficit to 8-3 as the teams headed for the sheds.
The Lions had most of the play early in the second half but with Irish hooker Rory Best's line-out throws misfiring spectacularly the Brumbies held firm and after another breakdown infringement Mogg put the home team further ahead 11-3, with a sweetly struck penalty.
A reckless tackle from Scottish prop Ryan Grant on 54 minutes allowed Mogg to stretch the lead to 14-3 and the Brumbies looked home but a breakdown infringement two minutes later allowed Hogg to cut the lead to 14-6.
Lions coach Warren Gatland sent for the cavalry on 57 minutes bringing on Welsh hooker Richard Hibbard for Best, English props Dan Cole and Alex Corbisiero for Grant and fellow Englishman Matt Stevens, Irish scrumhalf Conor Murray for English counterpart Ben Youngs and Welsh flank Dan Lydiate for Irish back row forward Sean O'Brien.
Hogg incredibly hit the post with another penalty shot on 59 minutes, but that was his last action of the match being replaced by young English flyhalf Owen Farrell who brought the Lions back to 14-9 with a penalty on 63 minutes.
Farrell landed another ice cool penalty from 40 metres on the angle and with eight minutes left the Brumbies clung to a 14-12 lead.
With Farrell's swift ball movement and clever distribution changing the match, suddenly the Lions looked dangerous.
The crowd warmed to the chant of "Lions, Lions, Lions" as the tourists poured on to the attack but the Brumbies held firm.
With the clock stopped for an injury with two minutes remaining the Brumbies had a scrum on the Lions 22 with the Lions needing to go 75 metres to save the match.
However, the young Brumbies kept their nerve, and the ball, to close out the match, Jake White's side leaping into the air to celebrate a famous victory at the final whistle.
Man of the match: Toby Faletau worked really hard all game, when most of his B&I Lions teammates just went through the motions, and won a crucial turnover late in the game. For the Brumbies Tevita Kuridrani kept the B&I Lions defenders honest and made some huge hits. Colby Faingaa, apart from being a monster on defence, he had some very decent carries and won a couple of crucial turnovers. However, our award goes to Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg – who was sound in the air, while his kicks at goal were invaluable. The real clincher was his kicking out of hand – those long and sometimes deft touchfinders kept the Lions pinned inside their half in the final quarter.
Moment of the match: There was a huge shift in momentum when the B&I Lions sent on an entire new front row – Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero and Dan Cole. In fact for 10 minutes it looked like they were going to come from behind and win. However, the Brumbies steadied the ship and won. Our award goes to the only try of the match – when Tevita Kuridrani wen over in the sixth minute. It set the tone for a wonderful Brumbies performance.
Villain of the match: Nothing nasty in this match.
For the Brumbies:
Pens: Mogg 3
For the British and Irish Lions:
Pens: Hogg 2, Farrell 2
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Peter Kimlin (captain), 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Scott Sio, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Ruan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Jean-Pierre Smith, 18 Chris Cocca, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Mark Swanepoel, 22 Robbie Coleman, 23 Zack Holmes.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stuart Hogg, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Simon Zebo.
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)