Super Rugby AU is firmly into the second half of the season and the return fixtures are always an interesting highlight. This round saw the once undefeated Brumbies put to the sword by the Rebels in the first shock of the weekend. The upsets weren’t done there however, the wobbly Waratahs were firm favourites to get hammered by the Reds and that couldn’t be further from what happened. What a crazy weekend of Super Rugby AU. Lets catch up with how the action went down…..
REBELS 30 vs 7 BRUMBIES
The weather conditions were less than ideal for the opening match of the weekend. Consistent rain throughout the game made handling a problem for both sides and made the kicking game a far more tactical option as the ball was skidding across the pack.
The way the sides played you would almost think it was a dry weather game and it was expansive play towards the right edge that picked up the first try. Reece Hodge taking advantage of some poor defending out wide by the Brumbies, who weren’t trusting their inside defender, and left a stack of space out wide.
Remember its wet…. The Brumbies were having a good period of attack in the Rebels half until they tried a little grubber kick which was blocked by Campbell Magnay and chased back the other way by Marika Koroibete who showed his tremendous acceleration and speed to toe the ball ahead a couple more times before winning the diving tussle a couple meters short of the line and popping it up to a charging Brad Wilkin to crash over. Completely against the run of play, that was a big blow by the Rebels.
The Brumbies battled back into the game and little surprise it was mainly through the lineout maul and penalties. But it wasn’t the usual suspects that delivered the points. Joe Powell snatching the ball out of the grasp of Folau Faingaa at the back of the maul to scuttle around the short side to finally put the Brumbies on the board.
The rest of the half was all Rebels and huge concern for the Brumbies. Matt To’omua rubbed salt into the wound with a little grubber of his own the Reece Hodge raced through, splashing through the puddles to beat the defender to the ball.
To’omua wasn’t having the greatest night off the tee with a couple of conversion missed already, but a nice handy penalty got him another three to his name.
With the half wearing to a close it was long periods of control by the Rebels. Their pack getting the better of the exchanges and the Brumbies decision making was appalling.
After pounding away at the Brumbies defence for what seemed like forever, the Rebels finally broke through again, Jordan Uelese planting it down from close range to give the Rebels a tidy twenty point lead.
It got worse for the Brumbies as the Rebels instantly got back on the attack with seconds to play. The defence this time held out enough but they lost Tom Cusack to a yellow card and were lucky to hold out to the half time break without conceding again! Off to half time we go, scoreline reading 27-7 in favour of the Rebels. Surprising half!
The Brumbies survive the early period after the break while being a man down without conceding any more points and even looked decent enough at getting into attacking areas themselves.
Back to fifteen a side, the Rebels get themselves even further in front via the boot of Matt To’omua once more, to extend that lead to twenty three points.
The majority of the second half is the Rebels focusing on defending that strong lead they had built up while throwing to the Brumbies and saying, bring it back and we will keep you out. They did that extremely well.
The Brumbies did finally battle over in the last couple of minutes, Will Miller crashes over after a number of penalties and quick taps taken from the Brumbies.
Could easy sum this game up in a few lines, Matt To’omua at twelve, he guided his Rebels around brilliantly, kicked well, and the Rebels ultimately played the better wet weather rugby. The question mark of Andrew Deegan at ten was well rewarded with his good territory kicking.
I’m struggling to find any real positives for the Brumbies on this game. The backs could not catch kicks, the forwards could not hit the ball up. The kicking was aimless, their gameplan was clueless. The worst Brumbies match in quite some time. Full time 30-7 to the Rebels.
WARATAHS 45 vs 12 REDS
Its the old rivalry of New South Wales vs Queensland to wrap up the sixth round of Super Rugby AU. The Waratahs just back from the bye and looking to get their season back on track.
They started the better of the two sides too, finding a lot of space out on the left side with James Ramm and the Waratahs cashed in with three early points off the tee.
The Reds went quickly on attack but their lineout is getting smashed by the Waratahs and the Reds are just not winning any of their own ball off their throw. That causes all sorts of issues for the Reds and the Waratahs have possession and possession against the throw. The left edge proved profitable again as Ramm slips through the defence and some superb offloading welcomes Jake Gordon back with the opening try of the game.
Before that opening try, it was about the final attacking chance for the Reds in the first half. The Waratahs took over and it makes you wonder what happened during their bye week, or perhaps what happened to the Reds over the last week….
The Waratahs went on a FIVE try rampage in the first half, three of which came from scrum half Jake Gordon. The lineout was a continued area of problems as Gordon’s second try came from Reds lineout, the first was more exposure down that left wing where Ramm was running without problem.
It was down the left again the Jack Dempsey found half a hole and an offload to Jack Maddocks extended the lead even more. Gordon added his third soon after and then it was Alex Newsome who went flying, quite literally, in the right corner when some ball finally went out to the his side of the field.
It defied belief to look at the half time scoreline, 38-0 the Waratahs thrashing the Reds at half time, five tries and nothing thrown back at them.
The second half was, as you would expect, a lot more tame. The Waratahs happy with their first half work and set about defending it with territorial rugby.
They still couldn’t help scoring tries and hooker Tom Horton got a rare one for the forwards who hardly had a chance to lay the ground attack close to the line. They cash in on the chance and extend that lead even more, out to 45-0, yes, forty five to NIL! Its explainable.
The Reds do fight back into the game, getting their opening points of the game a few minutes later thanks to a lucky bounce from a James O’Connor cross field kick, off the head of Jack Maddocks and bouncing fortuitously into the hands of Jack Hardy to finally put the Reds on the board.
The rest of the game was a Waratahs side happy to camp down and run down the clock against a Reds team throwing every desperate play they could at them. Their set piece was shot, their hands were just as bad and nothing went right for them at all. It was not a night for the Reds at all and continues on the Australian sides complete inconsistency.
With time well up the Reds finally managed to do four things they failed to do all night long. Firstly, the won a penalty and found touch with a good kick. Secondly, won a lineout… yeah that was a big deal. Thirdly, Tate McDermott made a rare half break off the bench and then finally the last piece of the puzzle, managed to put an offload to hands that actually caught the ball and just like that, like magic, James O’Connor scored the try.
The Reds may take a little heart at winning the second half, but when your down by 45 points, there is near nothing you can take as a positive. May as well cover the away side first because there was very little you could say they did well. The standouts, if you want to stretch, James O’Connor looked OK in a dreadful side, but overall, no one can hold their head up high. I don’t even recall hearing or seeing Jordan Petaia on the ball and his left edge got smashed early on.
The Waratahs on the other hand, have plenty to take from that game. James Ramm was devastating early on and set the tone for the game. Jakes Gordon of course cant miss out on a hattrick mention and often for the Waratahs, if Michael Hooper has a good game, so do the Waratahs, that was the case again in this one. Hopefully, the Waratahs can back that up next week…..
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