Brumbies win ugly over Blues to make super rugby statement against Kiwis

Noah Lolesio described it best. Ugly, but whatever. The Brumbies have toppled the Melbourne Blues to make a statement for Australian rugby against their Trans-Tasman rivals.

Hours earlier, Eddie Jones described the rebels’ bravery against the Hurricanes as not good enough.

“We want wins against teams from New Zealand,” the new Wallabies coach told ABC Offside.

And victory came to the Brumbies, who sealed a memorable 25-20 win over the dazzling Blues after a goalless second half.

“It was ugly in the last 15 to 20 minutes, but sometimes you just have to win ugly against a team like the Blues,” said Lolesio.

“I’m really happy with how we fought through. The Blues are a quality team and I’m sure they will make them shine later in the year but we’re very happy with our finish.”

Lachlan Lonergan was instrumental in the Brumbies’ win over the Blues. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

In fact it was ugly. The Brumbies scored three first-half tries, but two of those came from the rolling maw.

Those longing for the good ol’ days when Stephen Larkham and Joe Roff lit up Super Rugby would have shook their heads.

Justin Harrison, Larkham’s former teammate, said during an op-ed for Stan Sport that if the Brumbies had gone from an alley to the rolling maul when they played, the forwards would have gotten a serve.

Now it’s Larkham’s side who returned to their forward prowess as they shattered the Blues, who have the All Blacks from halfback to fullback, front and at set pieces to deal an early blow to their Trans-Tasman opponents.

“We play a certain way and the blues play a certain way and sometimes for some reason it just doesn’t happen; Sweat on the ball, umpires, wind conditions and it hinders what you’re trying to do out there and want to achieve and today we faced that,” Larkham said.

“We faced a situation where we couldn’t play the way we wanted, but we found a way to win and we want to see that in this team too. There’s a style we want to play with, but we also need a lot of heart and we saw that this afternoon.”

While there were plenty of points in the first half, the second half started with a grind and went on like that.

On a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon, chances were lost but the Brumbies’ brilliance at the breakdown prevented the Blues from opening them.

Rieko Ioane had an early chance in the second half but the All Blacks star selfishly threw a dummy and Tom Wright attempted a saving tackle.

From that point on it was a war of attrition with very little game flow and hotly contested collapse.


Blake Schoupp reacts after a fat breakdown penalty against the Blues. Photo: by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

But the Brumbies continued to show up in defense and especially in the breakdown.

The entire front row, including substitutes Blake Schoupp and Rhys Van Nek, were excellent.

Their task was complicated by the early loss of Allan Alaalatoa to a concussion, which will see the Brumbies captain miss next week’s home game against the Reds.

Nick Frost and the backrow, particularly openside flanker Rory Scott, were brilliant while Andy Muirhead and Corey Toole were lively far out.

Brumbies veteran James Slipper said he was pleased with the result but didn’t get carried away with the win.

“There was a lot of guts out there today, it was a hot day so we knew it was going to be a tough task and there was a lot of attacking in the first half, lots of tries and then the second half was all character. ” he said.

“It was about staying in the moment and competing hard. We were very happy with the result but it’s round two so let’s keep going.”


Andy Muirhead scored early for the Brumbies in Melbourne’s win over the Blues. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Image

After an early penalty against Ryan Lonergan, the match started with a lot of pace.

New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe was no slouch either, showing Caleb Clarke a yellow card for an intentional knockdown.

Moments later, the Blues had another player binned as prop James Lay was also shown a yellow card for collapsing rolling maul. The penalty attempt gave the Brumbies a 10-0 lead early on.

But the Blues hit back soon after as the Brumbies missed four penalties and Ricky Riccitelli scored.

The Brumbies managed to restore their 10-point lead when Muirhead crossed out wide.

Both sides then exchanged penalties before Tom Robinson sliced ​​through a lazy defense from Slipper and Cadeyrn Neville.

However, the Brumbies managed to end the half on a high when Lonergan scored from another rolling maul.

After Ioane’s missed opportunity, the fight turned to the ground. It was a fight the Brumbies won, with Master Breakdown Coach Laurie Fisher’s expertise paying off.

Despite not converting their chances in the second half, Test halves Nic White and Noah Lolesio managed to control play and seal their second straight win to start the season.

It wasn’t just any win either, with victories over the New Zealand opposition. And while it won’t ease the pain of last year’s semi-final knockout, it could well give them the confidence they need to move on in 2023.

“Obviously happy,” Larkham said.

“We put a lot of effort into the start of the season this year and we’re just really happy with how tough that game was and how hard our guys pushed.

“It was physically up front, there was a bit of a set piece there at times, there was good puncture pressure and it was certainly very difficult to constantly get up when their big bodies were coming at us. But I was blown away by the amount of physicality and guts that our bodies had out there.” Brumbies win ugly over Blues to make super rugby statement against Kiwis

Russell Falcon

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