Super Rugby

Brumbies open Super Rugby AU with win over Force

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The Brumbies beat the Western Force 11-27 to open their Super Rugby AU campaign with a win at HBF Park, Perth.

Noah Lolesio starred for the Brumbies. He converted both his, Irae Simone and Issak Fines-Leleiwasa’s tries, as well as slotting two penalties for a match-haul of 17 points.

The ACT side increased their stranglehold on this fixture. This is their 13th win in the last 14 Super Rugby clashes, including the previous 10 in a row against the recently reborn Perth franchise.

Ian Prior kicked two first-half penalties for the hosts, who never looked like crossing the whitewash.


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Not even James Slipper’s 59th-minute yellow card, for multiple infringements in the ‘red zone’, helped.

Tomás Cubelli’s late try chalked off the opposition’s bonus-point; however, was about the only positive from a disjointed display by the home team.

This was not a vintage Brumbies performance, but Dan McKellar’s championship outfit did enough to claim the hard-fought but comfortable away win.

The only blemish will be conceding a bonus-point late in the match when Cubelli scored in the 75th-minute. But a win’s a win.

Both sides struggled to convert pressure into points. The passing and catching had all the hallmarks of an early-season game.

Set-pieces were rusty, especially the driving mauls – the Force could not even score with a 13-man driving maul in injury time.

Lolesio and Prior scored all their teams’ points in a tight first half in Western Australia

Prior opened the scoring with an early penalty before Lolesio leveled in the 17th-minute.

A forward pass from Tom Banks to Mack Hansen saw the Brumbies miss a guilt-edge opportunity for a walk-in score.

McKellar’s men did eventually cross when Lolesio ghosted through the opposition and scored under the posts. The visitors never looked back.

The 21-year-old stand-off converted before trading penalties with Prior as the visitors went into the shed ahead by seven.

Simone crossed early after the restart. He combined with midfield partner Len Ikitau to open up a two-score lead in the 45th-minute. Lolesio converted.

Super Rugby AU Video Highlights: Western Force versus Brumbies at HBF Park, Perth

Tim Sampson’s men could not take their chances; they should have scored at least twice from four strong drives.

Sampson’s side conceded too many turnovers in important positions, while handling left much to be desired.

The visitors killed the game when Fines-Leleiwasa finished off a sublime attack in the 71st-minute.

Fines-Leleiwasa beat Richard Kahui after the fullback got sucked in by Tom Banks, who drew the defender before sending the 25-year-old in for the try.

The Force almost scored soon after the restart; however, the ball was held up over the line following some more stubborn defence.

They did, however, finally find a way through the gold wall when Cubelli scored from close range following some pressure inside the opposition’s 22.

It was too little, too late.

Final Score: Western Force 11 (6) Brumbies 27 (13)

Scorers

Western Force
Tries – Cubelli
Con –
Pen – Prior (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Brumbies
Tries – Lolesio, Simone, Fines-Leleiwasa
Con – Lolesio (3)
Pen – Lolesio (2)
Drop –
Cards – Slipper (Yellow, 59′)

Match Officials
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 1: Sam Jones
Assistant Ref 2: Jordan Kaminski
TMO: Kyle Burnett

Teams

Western Force

15 Robert Kearney, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson

Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Tim Anstee, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Richard Kahui

Brumbies

15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Noah Lolesio, 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: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa

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