The Brumbies beat the NSW Waratahs 27-20 in a wet Australian Super Rugby Pacific derby at GIO Stadium, Canberra.
The Brumbies ran in three tries to two to go second on the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific standings (on points difference) with a third win in a row.
Dan McKellar’s side has now notched 12 wins in 13 Super Rugby games against the Sydney franchise.
The Tahs, on the other hand, have only won once in 14 matches outside of New South Wales since 2020.
NSW has now lost two matches in a row since their promising first-round victory against new boys Fijian Drua.
The Brumbies, on the other hand, have won 16 of their last 17 home games against Australian opponents. Formidable.
Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, and Irae Simone all dotted down for the capital team. Noah Lolesio – accurate as ever – added two penalties and three conversions for 12 points.
Ben Donaldson added two first-half penalties and two second-half conversions for 10 points. The first receiver had a marvellous game despite the result.
Donaldson set up both Angus Bell and Will Harris’ tries as the Waratahs fought back from an 18-point deficit only to run out of time (and ideas).
The Tahs remained try-less until late in the third quarter when Donaldson set up Bell, who crashed over to make it 24-13 after the conversion.
New South Wales used their momentum to put some pressure on the Brumbies.
However, two penalties inside the opposition’s ‘red zone’ killed the opportunities.
A chop tackle by Alex Newsome on Scott Sio, inside the Tahs’ 22, allowed Lolesio to open up a two-goal lead with less than eight to play.
But Donaldson was at it again, his dummy-pass on the halfway line saw the standoff ghost through a huge hole in midfield.
The 22-year-old playmaker raced to the 22 before sending the supporting Harris in for a score.
Tom Banks could not stop the big number eight, who dived over in the corner.
A last-gasp counter-attack from their 22 saw the visitors string a dozen phases together.
The Brumbies move up, the NSW Waratahs drop down to the bottom half.
Brumbies dominate the opening stanza to take an 11-point lead into the shed
The Brumbies took a commanding 17-6 lead in the first half after tries by Valetini and Frost and the boot Lolesio.
The 22-year-old standoff, who was perfect off the tee, landed a penalty and converted both tries.
The Brumbies battered the opposition’s line with pick-and-drives, chipping away at NSW defence before Valetini crashed underneath the blue wall.
The attack was 10 phases before the visitors cracked, and would be a feature for both teams as the contest wore on.
Lolesio converted and kicked his first penalty to make it 10-0.
Donaldson missed a 15th-minute penalty, but he did land one seven minutes later to put the Waratahs on the scoreboard.
Darren Coleman’s men had hardly touched the ball, but a rare foray into enemy territory proved fruitful.
NSW got some good quality ball and pinned the home team inside their half.
The hosts managed to push the visitors back; however, the Tahs won another dropped high ball to continue a 16-phase attack.
Eventually, referee Nic Berry blew for a couple of offsides against McKellar’s side to give Donaldson his shot at goal.
The Brumbies had most of the possession (74%) and territory (60%), but the tackle count was almost even.
The third scrum penalty in a row went against NSW. Harry Johnson-Holmes struggled.
The home side went close but knocked on close to the chalk, while Izaia Perese’s midfield break, came to nothing for Coleman’s men.
Donaldson doubled his team’s tally on 33 minutes, but some ill-discipline from number eight Harris cost his side.
Harris’ needless high tackle led to the opposition setting up an attacking lineout.
The Brumbies went through the phases before Frost carried Johnson-Holmes and Dave Porecki over the line after a pick-and-drive. The conversion was good.
Brumbies come out firing, but lose momentum and rhythm as Waratahs fightback
Simone, eight minutes after the restart, beat three defenders to score under the sticks.
The quick-ball from the Brumbies was too much for the defenders. Simone cut inside Lalakai Foketi, Hugh Sinclair, and Tevita Funa for his ninth Super Rugby try. Lolesio made it 24-6.
New South Wales finally found some momentum of their own, and they made it count with a well-worked 58th-minute try.
A seven-phase attack concluded when Donaldson put Bell away next to the posts. The prop’s angled run could not be stopped, Donaldson added the extras.
Two more chances went begging near the home side’s line. With the visitors gaining ascendency, Lolesio opted for three points on 72 minutes instead of the corner.
Donaldson show-and-go, a few minutes later, set up Harris to cut the gap to one score after the conversion.
Time, however, was not on the Sydney team’s side, and another game goes by without lifting the Dan Vickerman Cup.
Final Score: Brumbies 27 (17) Waratahs 20 (6)
Tries – Valetini, Frost, Simone
Pen – Lolesio (2)
Con – Lolesio (3)
Tries – Bell, Harris
Pen – Donaldson (2)
Con – Donaldson (2)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Reuben Keane
Assistant Ref 2: Matt Kellahan
TMO: James Leckie
15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Ala’alatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Ed Kennedy, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 23 Jesse Mogg
15 Alex Newsome, 14 Dylan Pietsch, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Tevita Funa, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Charlie Gamble, 6 Hugh Sinclair, 5 Max Douglas, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Dave Porecki, 1 Angus Bell
Replacements: 16 Tom Horton, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jack Grant, 20 Langi Gleeson, 21 Carlo Tizzano, 22 Will Harrison, 23 Jamie Roberts