We expected a technically testing, territory orientated match-up between the Brumbies and the Reds and weren’t far wrong. It would be fair to label this contest as “the battle of the breakdown.” Here’s your recap…
First 20: 6.5/10
The Reds began the match with the wind at their backs making the most of it by dominating the territory stakes early on with some well executed tactical kicking in a very physical opening quarter. Both sides employed an extremely kicking orientated game plan with heavy emphasis on territorial dominance from the offset. Attacking periods were few and far between with the Reds looking more threatening of the sides with ball in hand. These attacking passages were unfortunately punctuated by heavily penalised infringements at the breakdown. The Brumbies’ effective defensive line was the flatter of the two managing to contain the more threatening of the backlines in the Reds. Push and shove crept in from as early as minute 7 which indicated that no love would be lost in this Aussie derby. One of the highlights of the opening stanza was a well executed opportunistic grubber by Nic White that resulted in the first try of the match by Jesse Mogg. There were also notable performances by Jake Schatz, Liam Gill and Eddie Quirk for the Reds in the crucial battle of the breakdown winning their side several penalties and much possession whilst pinning the Brumbies back in their own half.
Second 20: 7.25/10
This stanza opened with Christian Lealiifano missing two shots at goal, one of which was a sitter. The intensity increased with both defences being tested more sternly. Nic White continued to impress with Digby Ioane and Stephen Moore also shining. The nitty-gritty continued with referee Andrew Lees giving several warnings that a yellow card would soon be issued for the next infringement at the intensely contested breakdown or for any player involved in the next scuffle but he did not follow through with that threat. The Brumbies managed to turn the territorial battle around with improved play by their loosies allowing them to testing the Reds’ defence on several occasions. The high rate of territorial kicking continued and at half time the Brumbies led in a closely found contest by 8 points to 6.
Third 20: 7.5/10
The Brumbies had an early shot at goal in this quarter now using their 3rd kicker of the match in Jesse Mogg. The intensity, interplay and fluidity of both side’s play began to increase with more ball in hand rugby being played and a greater use of width employed on attack. The high penalty count continued from the first half, primarily due to infringements at the breakdown with the Brumbies now edging this battle as the Red’s loosies began to slow. Territorial kicking became less frequent as both sides found an attacking rhythm and the game began to take on a typical Reds’ rugby styled shape with the Brumbies benefiting with the wind at their backs.
Fourth 20: 7.5/10
The high pace and intensity continued into this final quarter with both defences being truly tested in an end to end display of quality rugby. The Brumbies wasted further shots at goal totalling 5 misses up to this point. The Reds then increased their urgency now trailing by 8 points and effectively began to take greater risks using the most attacking width of the match. The Reds however failed to convert their numerous scoring opportunities into points and some soft moments of play from the likes of Quade Cooper allowed the Brumbies to close out the match comfortably winning by 24 points to 6.