The Plus500 Brumbies have come away with a hard fought 24-22 win after a tense clash against the NSW Waratahs at the Sydney Cricket Ground last night, 2 April.
Waratahs flyhalf had a kick to level things after the final hooter but couldn’t find the mark, a gutsy effort from the home side just short with the Brumbies hanging on at the end down two players to cards.
A fantastic first half four-try display from the Brumbies was undone by an emotional Waratahs outfit, but the visitors managed to dig in and take the points.
From the opening whistle, it was clear their was an extra edge from the Waratahs but the Brumbies seemed to match their energy and it didn’t take long for the visitors to hit their straps in the first half.
A beautiful set play saw Tom Banks glide into space and from there the fullback put his dancing shoes on and hit the afterburners to score an instant classic try.
That brilliant effort was backed up minutes later by Tom Wright, the winger taking the ball from a standing start to score with some outstanding footwork and strength.
As they did for the duration of the contest, the Waratahs stuck in the game, showing plenty of improvement from their last clash with the Brumbies. That endeavour turned to points when Harry Johnson-Holmes crashed over from short range, as he had done in Canberra in round two.
With the scores level, the Brumbies responded once again. A classy move off the lineout gave Andy Muirhead half a chance to score out wide on the left flank and the Wallabies squad member made no mistake with the finish. Noah Lolesio’s conversion was sweet from the touchline.
Not happy with their advantage, the Brumbies went searching for more, after repelling a number of potent Waratahs attacks.
Having used the maul as a decoy early, the Brumbies opted for route one for their fourth try with Folau Fainga’a the beneficiary of the rolling drive.
Lolesio added the extras to give the Brumbies a 24-10 lead heading into the sheds.
A cagey second period followed the blistering opening half, the Waratahs continuing to ask questions of the Brumbies, Wright going close to adding his second of the night and a yellow card to Tom Cusack the highlights of the next 20 minutes of action.
It would be the Waratahs who would strike first with fifteen minutes left in the game. A charge down and some slick work from the home side put Will Harrison over the under the sticks, reducing the deficit to just seven points.
The Waratahs continued to lift, the Brumbies having to match their emotional state. Rory Scott was binned for repeat team infringements and the Waratahs edged closer.
The game looked to be finished but Cusack’s cynical swipe at Jake Gordon on the Brumbies line meant the game continued, and Cusack saw red for his second yellow.
Down to 13, the Brumbies couldn’t hold the Waratahs out after the bell, but Harrison’s conversion missed the mark and the Brumbies hung on.
The Brumbies will take the victory into their top of the table clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane in round eight.
Plus500 Brumbies 24 (T: Banks, Wright, Muirhead, Fainga’a; C: Lolesio 2) def NSW Waratahs 22 (T: Johnson-Holmes, Harrison, Ramm; C: Harrison 2; P: Harrison)
The Brumbies play the Queensland Reds in Round Eight of Super Rugby AU at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday 10 April 7.45pm. Televised live on Stan Sport and 9Gem.