Rebels vs Brumbies: Five things we learned

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

What are we talking about after the Brumbies win over the Rebels?

1. Plenty of points but no extras

For the second week in a row, a team competing for the  Australian conference top spot has failed to clinch a bonus point. The Brumbies scored five tries to three, one short of the buffer needed to secure that extra point. They have managed just one bonus point this season and with the Waratahs holding a game in hand, it could prove pivotal in weeding out the Super Rugby finalists.

2. Loophole needs to shut

The Waratahs didn’t know about it last week but the Brumbies were quick to ensure a TMO loophole didn’t cost them a try. Christian Lealiifano scored in the 33rd minute for the Brumbies but  the replay showed a forward pass in the lead up. The Brumbies went for a quick conversion, knowing as soon as they had done that, the TMO couldn’t call it back to make a decision on the pass. TMO George Ayoub wised up to the tactic the second time around, stopping Lealiifano just as he was about to kick for the conversion and the ensuing review reversed the try. At the moment, fair play to teams who know how to take advantage of the rule quirk, but something needs to be done, considering it’s a quirk that could decide the Australian finalist.

3. Cool, calm, collected

The Brumbies have some of the most experienced leaders in the Super Rugby competition and the Rebels might have needed some of that just before half-time. Captain Nic Stirzaker took a risk and chose a tap over a shot at three points and the resulting passage of play ended up in a Brumbies scrum. Though it wouldn't have won them the game and their keenness to score tries made it a contest, they could have gleaned that bonus point if they went for the points.


4. Rock and maul

They’ve tried to add frills and X-factor this year, to mixed results, but the Brumbies’ maul is a thing of true beauty. Their first real chance of the evening to score off a maul came in the 16th minute and it took them little effort to send David Pocock on to the line. There’s a simple reason it’s become a trademark of the Brumbies - it works.          

5. Surface needs to be turfed

Five weeks out from a Test match at this venue, the AAMI Park surface is still struggling under the weight of the scrums. Divots first came up on the 22 after a scrum in the 15th minute and the patches were still being tended to at half-time. On the opposite side of the pitch, right on the halfway, chunks of grass were being patted down the break. Turf has been a big talking point in Sydney this week but Friday night’s game reminded everyone that it’s not just Sydney that needs to shape up.

 

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