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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ryan Lonergan seals Brumbies win with 55-metre bomb

Ryan Lonergan drilled a 55-metre penalty goal after the final siren to hand the Brumbies a 27-24 victory over the Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium.

With the Brumbies faithful holding their breath, the replacement halfback stepped up to take the pressure kick.

He made sweet contact with the ball and it just fell over the crossbar, sending the home crowd wild.

The victory means the Brumbies remain undefeated through their first three matches of the season. The only sour notes for the Brumbies were a red card to skipper Allan Alaalatoa and an injury to hooker Connal McInerney.

The Rebels came out full of intent from the opening whistle and added three points off the tee of former Brumby Matt To’omua within a minute.

Noah Lolesio levelled the scores, before To’omua added another two quick penalty goals to give the Rebels a 9-3 edge.

The Brumbies lost McInerney in the eighth minute meaning Lachlan Lonergan would have to play his biggest stint in Brumbies colours.

The first try of the game came in the 20th minute as Lolesio put through a perfect grubber for Len Ikitau to score and put the Brumbies ahead 10-9.

Then came the pivotal red card.

The Brumbies looked to push for another try, but an intercept saw the Rebels advance into the Brumbies territory.

Alaalatoa mistimed his tackle on Pone Fa’amausili and saw red for a high shot. To’omua slotted a penalty goal to give the Rebels into a narrow 12-10 lead at the break.

Though down to 14 men, the Brumbies scored their second try in the 48th minute after the Rebels denied a certain five-pointer illegally, forcing the referee to award a penalty try.

To’omua’s boot was the only one to trouble the scoreboard all night for the Rebels, but three consecutive penalty goals gave the Rebels a 21-17 lead

Lonergan then produced a moment of magic with a beautiful flick pass sending Tom Banks through the defence. The try giving the lead back to the Brumbies, 24-21, with under 8 minutes remaining.

However, To’omua’s eighth penalty goal of the contest levelled the scores with just four minutes to go.

The Rebels looked the more likely team to win the game and had the Brumbies pinned on their own line.

The Brumbies held strong and after winning a series of penalties, it was time for Ryan Lonergan to step up.

From past halfway and on the angle, Lonergan delivered the game winner with just inches to spare.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Ryan Lonergan of the Brumbies celebrates kicking the winning goal during the round three Super RugbyAU match between the Rebels and the Brumbies at GIO Stadium, on March 06, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Lonergan was swarmed by his teammates after the match-winning kick. Image: Getty

The Brumbies now take on the other undefeated Super Rugby AU side, the Queensland Reds, at GIO Stadium on Saturday 13 March in a Grand Final rematch.

Plus500 Brumbies 27 (T: L Ikitau, Penalty Try, T Banks; C: Lolesio 1, R. Lonergan 1; P: Lolesio 1, R. Lonergan 1) 

Melbourne Rebels 24 (P: To’omua 8)

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