VIDEO: Defending champs pushed all the way in pre-season thriller
SUPER RUGBY AU REPORT: The defending-champion Brumbies were given a proper workout by the Western Force in Canberra on Tuesday.
The Brumbies secured a one-point (29.28) win over the Force in the two teams’ only pre-season outing – 10 days ahead of their Round One encounter.
The result sets up a mouth-watering season opener between the two sides at the Perth Oval next Friday, February 19.
After a strong and confident start from the Force, the hosts fought back to maintain possession, but notable crucial tackles from the likes of Fergus Lee-Warner, Kane Koteka and Byron Ralston ensured the game remained scoreless 0 after the first period.
The Brumbies eventually opened the scoring with a rolling maul in the 40th-minute, as Lachlan Lonergan crossed the line.
The Force struck back swiftly in the 47th-minute, with former All Black Richard Kahui powering over the line from Tomás Cubelli’s quickly taken touch and pass.
Kahui’s try, which was converted by new recruit Jake McIntyre, signalled a strong period for the visitors with Jake Strachan’s blistering pace giving the Force the lead with a fantastic try.
Marcel Brache’s bullet pass to Brad Lacey saw the wing burst down the left-hand-side before eventually passing to Cubelli inside who then directed offloaded at the perfect moment to Strachan who raced away for a try, which was again converted by McIntyre to make it 14-7.
Kahui scored his second try in emphatic fashion showing blistering speed and great anticipation to intercept and score. McIntyre made it three conversions from three attempts to make it 21-7.
The Brumbies hit back in the 56th-minute with a penalty try followed by a converted try from former Force player Issak Fines in the 75th-minute to level the scores.
The Canberra side regained the lead in the 80th-minute with a rolling maul try and successful conversion.
The Force responded with local product Grason Makara touching down after reading Argentinean flyhalf Domingo Miotti’s clever grubber kick to the corner superbly. Miotti then showed great composure to convert and make it 28-26 in the Force’s favour.
A penalty goal in the 87th-minute saw the Brumbies snatch a dramatic win after an eventful and high-octane performance from the two sides.
(The scorers below the video …)
For the Brumbies
Tries: Lonergan, Fines, McInerney, Penalty try
Cons: White 2, Penalty try does not require a conversion
For the Western Force
Tries: Kahui 2, Strachan
Cons: McIntyre 3, Miotti
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Rod Iona, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Reesjan Pasitoa, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements – from: Forwards – Scott Sio, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Connal McInerney, Lachlan Lonergan, Nick Frost, James Tucker, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Rory Scott; Backs – Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Ryan Lonergan, Junior Tupou, Reece Tapine, Noah Lolesio, Tom Haddad, Corey Toole.
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tim Anstee, 4 Fergus Lee-Warner, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Angus Wagner.
Replacements – from: Jack Winchester, Scott Tolmie, Chris Heiberg, Santiago Medrano, Tom Robertson, Greg Holmes, Sam Offer, Jackson Pugh, Manu Kololo, Ollie Callan, Tomás Cubelli, Michael McDonald, Jake McIntyre, Domingo Miotti, Henry Taefu, Jake Strachan, Grason Makara, Toni Pulu, Marcel Brache, Rob Kearney, Richard Kahui.