Brumbies bounce back against Force
MATCH REPORT: The Brumbies have bounced back in style with a thumping 42-14 victory over the Western Force in their Super Rugby AU clash in Canberra.
Stinging after suffering their first loss of the season against Queensland in their last home game, the Brumbies were almost unstoppable in the Friday match at GIO Stadium, scoring six tries.
They set up the win with a dominant first half, rushing to a 28-0 halftime lead with centre Len Ikitau collecting two of their four first-half tries.
With 67 percent of possession and a stunning 85 percent of territory in the opening 40 minutes, the Brumbies starved the visitors of ball.
The Force did themselves no favours with a 9-0 first-half penalty count, while they had to replace injured five-eighth Jake McIntyre in the eighth minute, with veteran Jono Lance entering the fray in his place.
Despite the scoreline, the Perth team deserved praise for their defensive efforts in the first half given their lack of ball.
They twice stopped likely Folau Fainga’a tries, although the Brumbies hooker looked to have got the ball across the line on the second effort despite the TMO ruling no try.
Their defensive wall cracked however when ex-Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, which came after a spate of penalties.
Ikitau reaped the reward of some slick passing to score both his tries while their opponents were a man down.
The margin could have been greater but for diminutive Force fullback Jack McGregor pulling off a flying tackle that knocked No.8 Pete Samu into touch over the tryline, saving what had looked a certain five-pointer.
The Force regrouped to post their first points in the second half, with Kuridrani offloading to fellow centre Henry Taefu to score in the 53rd minute.
That seemed to spark the Canberra players and reserve rake Lachlan Lonergan burrowed across four minutes later.
The teams went toe to toe as they emptied their bench, and the Force collected a second through Ian Prior, taking advantage of a yellow card to prop Harry Lloyd after repeated Brumbies infringements.
But the home side had the final say with winger Andy Muirhead crossing for his second try to cap the win.
Tries: Ikitau 2, Neville, Muirhead 2, Lonergan
Cons: Lolesio 5, Lonergan
For Western Force
Tries: Taefu, Prior
Cons: Prior 2
Yellow cards: Tevita Kuridrani (Western Force, 18 – deliberate knockdown), Harry Lloyd (Brumbies, 63 – professional foul)
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White (captain), 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 James Slipper, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Harry Lloyd
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Fred Kaihea, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 James Tucker, 20 Rory Scott, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Brynard Stander (captain), 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Jack Winchester, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Tim Anstee, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Jono Lance, 23. Jordan Olowofela.
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Amy Perrett & Reuben Keane
TMO: Brett Cronan