It was one of the best Brumbies efficiency in a while.
To place 50 on the Chiefs, a aspect able to mark the century milestone of Brodie Retallick, and with some of the harmful gamers within the recreation in Damien McKenzie again on the park, this was some show.
The Brumbies led 33-10 at halftime and had crossed the stripe 5 occasions already at that time. The Chiefs discovered the road on the half hour, however McKenzie had already had two kicks at penalty aim by then. It’s truthful to say that his recreation mirrored that of the Chiefs normally; sometimes sensible, however that was the purpose. It was solely very sometimes.
Tom Banks’ attempt within the 17th minute was a ready-made highlights clip, and it’ll undoubtedly characteristic closely in promotions for the remainder of the season. And so it ought to; it was precisely the form of play that followers bear in mind from method again when, and precisely the form of play that may entice folks to video games.
The sport got here solely 24 hours after the Queensland Reds very almost laid out a contender for upset of the yr (which the Sunwolves would even have claimed, had Karmichael Hunt not completed sufficient to make Hayden Parker push his drop aim try huge). It was simply nice to see one other Australian aspect establishing an early foothold and never simply go on with it, however genuinely dominate.
It’s typically a case of taking what you possibly can out of the opening rounds annually, however on restricted viewing, it actually seems as if the Reds and Brumbies – and the Rebels, to be truthful – are embracing a need to simply *play* in 2019.
The Reds had been extremely spectacular on Friday night time in Dunedin, particularly within the second half once they fought exhausting to take the lead on the hour and power the Highlanders right into a little bit of desperation of their very own to grab the win within the final 5 minutes.
I’ve already made point out of the profit I believe fullback Bryce Hegarty will carry to the Reds within the aftermath of Hunt’s transfer south to the Waratahs, however I’ve to confess, I wasn’t actually counting his goal-kicking in coming to that conclusion. However his flawlessness from the tee is totally one other string to his bow, and 5 from 5 is a superb begin to the kicking yr.
Importantly, this shapes as simply one other method of liberating up flyhalf Hamish Stewart to simply get on with taking part in his recreation and studying easy methods to steer his crew across the park. Figuring out that he’s acquired somebody of Hegarty’s high quality chiming in from the again can solely be an excellent factor going ahead this season.
The Reds’ forwards had been actually good, and laid a superb platform for the backs to assault from.
It was fascinating to listen to Samu Kerevi say post-match that “younger” is a descriptor they don’t need to hear any extra, however it’s wroth noting that forwards performed with maturity past their years.
Already, the backrow unit appears nicely drilled, with Angus Scott-Younger and Caleb Timu sturdy, and Liam Wright having good influence in and across the ruck. It already seems that new assistant coach Peter Ryan has added some starch to their defence.
Actually although, there was no higher ahead on the park – no higher participant, maybe – than lock Izack Rodda, who turned out an unbelievable recreation simply two days after the dying of his father.
Rodda’s ending of the length-of-the-field counter assault attempt within the 49th minute was a terrific illustration of his recreation towards the Highlanders, rewarded for doing all of the exhausting work to be in the appropriate place on the proper time when Moses Sorovi desperately wanted somebody to dump to.
In the identical vein, it was the Brumbies’ assist recreation that drew probably the most consideration, apparent that this had been a significant focus within the week because the loss to the Melbourne Rebels the week earlier than.
The place the earlier week the Brumbies had been trying to assault the Rebels down the perimeters, towards the Chiefs the ball-carriers had been aiming not only for the gaps within the centre channels, however eyeing off the house in behind the defenders to create second-phase alternatives.
Couple this with the likes of Banks, and Andy Muirhead and Tevita Kuridrani, who adopted the ball-carriers all night time, even when it was solely very sometimes to take an offload.
When you think about the final lament inside Australian rugby in recent times of gamers even searching for an offload or placing themselves into place to be an offload goal, this was an enormous and really welcome change in tack.
Banks’ attempt was a match spotlight, however Likelihood Peni’s attempt early within the second half was one of the best instance of this very good assist recreation by far.
Christian Lealiifano broke down the brief aspect from a scrum win with Muirhead in tow, and with the head-on angle exhibiting his run from contained in the Brumbies’ 22 to close midway was straight down the 15m ‘tram line’, earlier than discovering Muirhead who continued on this slim path to close the Chiefs 22.
Muirhead’s offload missed Kuridrani and was over-run by Tom Cusack, earlier than Lealiifano reappeared on the scene to wash up. He discovered Lachie McCaffrey, who had Irae Simone to his outdoors, however who noticed the house out wider and acquired a pleasant move excessive to Likelihood Peni.
Peni was the primary participant in the entire motion to vary angle in heading for the nook initially, earlier than rounding again towards the posts to attain. The straight-line assist working was excellent, however it was like this all night time.
Lealiifano and Banks have gotten the headlines, however it was the likes of the unheralded McCaffrey, Cusack, and Muirhead who actually made the distinction. And whereas Kuridrani is fitter and hitting holes like when he first burst onto the scene, it’s the straight-running of Simone in midfield that’s opening up the house for him.
Within the aftermath, the apparent response from Brumbies followers was that this win was one of the best in years, and possibly even one of the best because the Championship years of the early 2000s. However in equity to them, this group has all the time been able to this sort of show.
Geoff Parkes talked about the 52-10 thumping of the Hurricanes in Canberra to kick off the 2016 season yesterday, however I don’t even assume it’s important to return that far.
Even simply in Spherical eight final season, the Brumbies dominated Queensland in seven-tries-to-two demolition which gave us the primary glimpse of an 18-year-old child known as Jordan Petaia.
That win featured the identical of form of ball-carrying and assist play up by means of the center, highlighted no higher than Rory Arnold ending off a Scott Sio line break, which in flip got here from a Wharenui Hawera offload.
And that win at house final April gave us the pre-cursor to the South African tour performances a couple of weeks later, which have been broadly famous as the purpose the place the Brumbies’ new attacking method actually kicked into gear.
Nevertheless far again you need to go, although, the purpose stays the identical. The Brumbies have turned out precisely the form of efficiency that’s been requested of them for years, and it got here in a way which they clearly take pleasure in taking part in.
Lengthy might it proceed in 2019, and lengthy might the identical promising indicators from the Reds and Rebels have the identical feel-good influence on the Australian convention.