Brumbies vs Waratahs: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies took a 19-13 win over the Waratahs in Canberra on Friday night.

What are we talking about after that clash?

1. McCaffrey pushing his Test case

Lachie McCaffrey was an absolute beast for the Brumbies tonight and his 2019 form is starting to look very, very good.

Probably the biggest compliment he received was from the opposition captain, Michael Hooper, after the game, who said he felt the no. 8 had actually had better games this season.

When the opposition feels they have shut a key player down and he is still you man of the match, you know your on a good run of form.

As well as his usual bruising efforts, McCaffrey put in a sneaky kick late in the game to set up an ultimately disallowed try.

Australia has a serious list of backrow talent but McCaffrey is certainly doing everything right to push his credentials.

2. Don’t be afraid of the old faithful


There is nothing wrong with the Brumbies’ hopes of introducing more expansive rugby into their repertoire, and they have the backline to do it, but when you have a weapon as good as their lineout and maul, why wouldn’t you keep going back to it?

The ACT’s first two tries of Friday night came from their lineout, giving hooker Folau Faingaa his fifth and sixth tries of 2019.

Though that first one involved some slick passes from the lineout to put Faingaa over, the second was all maul.

Set piece rugby is not often the most popular version of rugby Australia but honestly, when there's a score to be found with almost every mauling effort, few fans could find reason to complain.

3. Luckless Valetini

Young backrower Rob Valetini simply cannot take a trick.

The 20-year-old has shown glimpses of his potential in his first two Super Rugby seasons and in the NRC - enough in fact to be well in Wallabies contention.

Injuries have always been his downfall though and Australian rugby fans will be hoping that’s not the case again.

Valetini looked to be in a lot of pain when he came off the field with FOX SPORTS commentators suggesting the injury looked like a potential dislocation and while Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was pretty confident post-match that it wasn't a recurrence of his troublesome medial injury a full prognosis is yet to be confirmed.

4. Beale yet to find top gear in 2019


The Waratahs backline might be star-studded but they haven’t quite been able to put it all together just yet.

Kurtley Beale again had an inconsistent night at 12 and possibly the biggest form question hangs over him.

The Waratahs have the depth on the wings to keep Israel Folau at fullback, where he wants to play, but when Karmichael Hunt is fit that creates a dilemma for Daryl Gibson.

Hunt is expected to return for NSW’s clash with the Crusaders next weekend and where Beale fits in could be decided by those around him.

5. Brumbies keep Aussie conference tight

The Brumbies needed a win tonight, make no mistake, and they delivered just what they needed.

That result has the Waratahs and Brumbies with two wins apiece, while the Rebels are on three wins at the top of the table.

The Reds are yet to record a win in 2019 but overall the running already looks incredibly competitive in the Aussie ranks.

That can only mean good things for Australian derbies and the 12,112 attendance, one of the biggest Brumbies crowds in recent seasons, shows there's certainly appetite for that.