Super Rugby

Lolesio-inspired Brumbies beat Highlanders




Brumbies beat Highlanders 17-28 in a Trans-Tasman Super Rugby Pacific Super Round clash at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

A Noah Lolesio inspired display saw the Brumbies end a six-game losing streak against the Highlanders with an impressive 11-point victory over the Otago side.

Jahrome Brown, Lachlan Lonergan, and Lolesio scored for the Brumbies in a rare win over New Zealand opposition in Victoria.

Lolesio also kicked three penalties and two conversions for a career-best Super Rugby match haul of 18 points in another assured display at first receiver.

The Brumbies’ flyhalf had missed the last few weeks with an injury, but his Player-of-the-Match performance propelled the Australians to an upset win versus New Zealand opposition.

The ACT franchise had only won five of their previous 26 Super Rugby games against Kiwi teams, so this win will be savoured.

This win is the first win for Australia’s franchises in 16 matches in the one-sided Trans-Tasman rivalry.

The Landers, however, are the worst performing team from the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.

The South Island team has only won once this season and sits in the basement with Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen and James Lentjes crossed for the blunt Highlanders. Marty Banks landed one penalty and two conversions (7 pts).

Dan McKellar’s charges sit in second place on the Super Rugby Pacific table, one point behind the Blues.

The Brumbies dominated the first half, but only led by 10 points against a dogged Highlanders at the break

McKellar’s men took a deserved 17-7 lead into the shed, but the Brumbies should have led by more.

The Brumbies had 71% territory, but 48% possession as they piled on the pressure.

Tries from Brown and Lonergan saw the ACT side go 14-nil ahead after 21 minutes, but two handling errors cost two more scores.

Tom Wright dropped the ball as he tried to dot down untouched in the corner, and Nic White knocked on with the try line at his mercy.

Brown opened the scoring in 11 minutes. He crashed over two defenders after running around the ruck and reaching out to score.

Lonergan increased his side’s lead when the hooker flopped over the line after another powerful driving maul from the Brumbies’ forwards.

Lolesio converted both scores before White knocked on soon after the restart.

The Highlanders struggled to get out of their 22, never mind their half; they scored their only try of the first half, four minutes before the break.

It took Tony Brown’s men more than 35 minutes to enter the Brumbies’ 22.

The Kiwis did, however, take their rare opportunity when Umaga-Jensen burst through White and Pete Samu’s tackles to halve the gap after Banks’ conversion.

Lolesio added a late penalty to open a 10-point lead, and the standoff slotted a second soon after the restart to make it 20-7.

The Highlanders had a better second half, but the Brumbies edged the Kiwis 11-10 after the break

Lentjes crashed over moments later to keep the Landers in the hunt. The skipper collected Folau Fakatava’s deft offload and barged through a couple of defenders to score.

Banks again converted, but the Australians halted the New Zealand side’s momentum by winning a scrum penalty.

Lolesio, flawless from the tee, landed his third goal of the afternoon to increase his team’s lead to nine points before the hour mark.

Josh Hohneck gathered Rob Valetini’s knock-on and booted the ball down the field for a 50/22.

The fortuitous turn of events led to a kickable penalty in front of the poles after the lineout. Banks made no mistake.

With 10 minutes remaining, some Sam Gilbert magic almost led to a sensational score.

Gilbert chased Umaga-Jensen’s grubber and beat Andy Muirhead to the bouncing ball to dot down with one hand in the corner.

The TMO, however, reviewed and correctly ruled out the try, which showed Gilbert did not have control of the ball.

It was a sliding doors moment. The Aussies struck straight afterwards when Lolesio finished off a sublime attack involving backs and forwards.

A quick-fire attack ended with Irae Simone’s linebreak and offload, sending the 22-year-old standoff away in the corner.

The try scorer could not convert, but the capital side had re-opened another two-score lead with seven minutes to play.

The Dunedin side had the better of the last moments, but the Kiwis could not find a dramatic comeback win.

Final Score: Highlanders 17 (7) Brumbies 28 (17)


Tries – T. Umaga-Jensen, Lentjes
Pen – Banks
Con – Banks (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Brown, L. Lonergan, Lolesio
Pen – Lolesio (3)
Con – Lolesio (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: James Leckie


Highlanders: 15 Mitch Hunt, 14 Freedom Vahakolo, 13 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Mosese Dawai, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Hugh Renton, 5 Sam Caird, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ethan de Groot.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makailo, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Max Hicks, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Kayne Hemmington, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Christian Lio Willie.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White (captain), 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Caderyn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Sefo Kautai, 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.

Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Rod Iona, 23 Hudson Creighton.

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