Reds vs Brumbies: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

The Reds notched a bonus point win over the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium with their 36-14 victory.

Here's what we're talking about after the derby.

1. Tate McDermott must retain the Reds' no.9

McDermott was given his starting chance for the Reds against the Brumbies after coming off the bench in the opening four matches. And he showed why he must hold down the position for the remainder of the season with a strong effort, providing quick ball and sniping at every opportunity against the Brumbies. Neither McDermott, nor Moses Sorovi - who threw a wild pass that led to Brumby debutant Jahrome Brown's try in the second half before he redeemed himself winning turnover ball at the breakdown after a relentless chase - is yet a complete player. The pair will continue to duel for the starting spot but McDermott has the upper hand for now.

2. Peter Ryan is working miracles

"Miracles" may be a bit harsh but the Reds defence has taken a quantam leap from last season, where it was paper-thin at times. The new-found starch faced an immediate test when the Brumbies maintained possession for 27 phases in the opening minutes but the Reds maintained their line and came up with some monster hits. To not concede a try to the Brumbies' rolling maul was outstanding for the Reds' confidence and coach Brad Thorn hopes they have taken another step on their journey towards becoming a consistently competitive outfit.

3. James Slipper is a World Cup prospect

Slipper may have been on the wrong end of the scoreline but made a successful return to Suncorp Stadium starting at loosehead against former Reds teammate Taniela Tupou. He probably took points in the opening half, with the man known as "Tongan Thor" replaced at halftime after a few uncharacteristic errors, including dropping the ball in sight of the tryline just before the break. Slipper's rebound in Canberra has not gone unnoticed by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who would have been salivating at the contest between the big men.

4. The Brumbies have to be able to cope with pressure

Coach Dan McKellar conceded his side is making poor choices under pressure and need to improve. The Brumbies have been like the girl with the curl this season - when they're good, they're very good but when they're under pressure they can have horrible moments, as happened with four turnover tries conceded to the Reds. Turnovers at the lineout, missed calls and poor use of the ball led to an immediate crisis of confidence, something the Brumbies have to overcome if they are to play to their potential.

Samu Kerevi of the Reds takes on the defence during the round six Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

5. Aussie conference a tight tussle

Losses to the Rebels and Brumbies and the Waratahs' and Reds' wins have brought about a logjam in the Australian conference, with all teams suddenly back in the mix. The Tahs sit on top after their win against the Crusaders and just four points separates them and the Reds after Queensland's bonus-point victory. Thorn and McKellar were loath to look at the big picture but no Aussie team can be counted out of the finals yet.