43 vs 24
The Brumbies made a winning return to Super Rugby after securing a deserved 43-24 victory over the Reds in Canberra on Friday.
Although the home side were under pressure during the first half, they improved as the match progressed and eventually outscored their visitors by six tries to three with captain Stephen Moore leading the way with a brace.
The result means they now have 39 points on the Australian Conference table, as they secured a crucial bonus-point, and they are now have five points more than the Waratahs who play the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Reds are second from bottom in the Australian Conference, four points ahead of the Western Force, who take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The men from Brisbane made the brighter start and after Henry Taefu had opened the scoring via an early penalty, Andrew Ready extended their lead when he scored the opening try from a rolling maul in the 17th minute.
The Brumbies struck back via a Christian Lealiifano penalty before Moore got his first try from a line-out drive on the Reds’ five-metre line.
Just before half-time, Nick Frisby failed to find touch from a penalty and the home side made him pay when the Brumbies opted to keep the ball alive, although the half-time hooter had sounded already, with Aidan Toua and Nigel Ah Wong prominent in carrying the ball up to the visitors’ five metre line.
At the ensuing ruck, Toua offloaded to Ben Alexander who ran a brilliant line before barging over the whitewash despite the attentions of two defenders.
The Reds thought they had drawn level two minutes after the restart when Duncan Paia’aua exploited a gap in the Brumbies defence, close to the halfway line, and offloaded to Eto Nabuli who threw an inside pass to Samu Kerrevi.
The Wallaby centre stepped inside a tackle from Nigel Ah Wong before dotting down but his effort was disallowed after the TMO correctly ruled that Nabuli had stepped into touch in the build-up.
That would prove to be a costly decision as five minutes later, Moore got over for his second try, in similar fashion to the first from a rolling maul deep inside the Reds’ 22.
That score was a momentous score for the Wallaby skipper as it was his seventh try of the campaign, which is the most in a season for a hooker and it breaks the record which was previously shared by former Wallaby Jeremy Paul and ex All Black Andrew Hore.
The Reds didn’t surrender, however, and in the 55th minute Paia’aua got over for his first ever Super Rugby try after Kerevi and Liam Gill did well in the build-up.
The final quarter saw the hosts stepping up the gear with replacement scrum-half Tomás Cubelli leading the charge. Cubelli first set up Lealiifano for a try in the 61st minute before crossing for one himself 10 minutes later.
The hosts continued to attack and secured their bonus-point five minutes before the end when Lausii Taliauli crossed for the crucial score and although Taniela Tupou scored a consolation try shortly before full-time, the Brumbies had done enough to consolidate their play-off chances.
BRUMBIES – 43
Tries: Stephen Moore(35,48),Ben Alexander(40),Christian Lealiifano(60),Tomas Cubelli(70),Lausii Taliauli(74)
Penalties: Christian Lealiifano(25)
Cons: Christian Lealiifano(36,49,61,71,75)
REDS – 24
Tries: Andrew Ready(15),Duncan Paia”Aua(53),Taniela Tupou(78)
Penalties: Henry Taefu(6)
Cons: Henry Taefu(16,54,79)
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Ben Hyne, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Lausii Taliauli
Reds: 15 Jack Tuttle, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Campbell Magnay
Date: Friday, July 1
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)