Rugby News, Thoughts on Folau Faingaa switching teams from the Brumbies to Western Force beginning next year

We didn’t see that coming when Folau Faingaa just defected teams from the ACT Brumbies to now the Western Force starting next season on a two-year deal, while remaining with Rugby Australia for Wallaby selection at the same time. He also reunites with a couple of ex-Brumbies who now play their trade in Perth – including Reejan Pasitoa, Bayley Kuenzle, Issak Fines, Kyle Godwin, Toni Pulu, Harry Lloyd & Angus Wagner.

It’s a great sign of ambition being shown there from the WA-based Super Rugby side – who wants to make the most of themselves in the long-term at Super Rugby level – and be a competitive front on the pitch. Plus, it will be great to see Faingaa get the chance to show his full 80 spells ahead of Felati Kaitu’u for the leading hooker position after he always start half-games often, before he was replaced by Lachlan Lonergan every time later during the 2nd half in a Brumbies shirt.

They have came from a long way since their shock axing back in 2018 before COVID changed everything three years ago, and Rugby Australia has came to their rescue once more as the 5th full-time Super Rugby Team here alongside the Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies, NSW Waratahs & Queensland Reds.

From the Super Rugby AU Qualifying Final in 3rd last year to a near Top 8 finish in 9th this season in the Super Rugby Pacific; They’ve gone from strength to strength, having replaced Tim Sampson with one of the emerging coaches from New South Wales in none other than – Simon Cron – as the new head coach.

Not only he knows the NSW Rugby system & talent pool very well like current Tahs head coach Darren Coleman, he also most recently worked with Steve Hansen over the last three years as Director of Rugby at Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

There’s also a talented youngster in Jeremy Williams coming over from the Tahs where he will replace the now-retired Jeremy Thrush on the second row, while they convinced experienced Flanker/Number 8 Michael Wells to move back home from the Rebels.

The best is yet to come when Faingaa’s vast 63-cap Super Rugby and 25-cap Wallaby experience will change the way how the Force executes their throw-ins and driving maul come line-out time.

It could be a game changer under his watch that will provide plenty of competition across the Trans-Tasman in the hope of beating some New Zealand teams, as well as an extended shot via the Playoffs as long as they can finish Top 8 in the regular-season ladder every year.

Blues overcame their lost penalties with a brilliant defensive shift before Ofa Tu’ungafasi saved the day that secured a spot in next Saturday’s Final v Crusaders

What a game that is to close out the semi-finals of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific by a one-point difference at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ. ACT Brumbies didn’t waste any time getting it started in the first few minutes before the Blues responded well with two tries ahead of half-time, 20-7. Now the Brumbies began to hold back the Blues when a couple of ill-discipline from their end helped them close the gap later in the 2nd half, with credit from a couple of new faces off the bench, including, Lachlan Lonergan. The sweet revenge was almost sent to the Blues for payback that would’ve sent the Brumbies to Christchurch for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders via the drop goal. But Ofa’ Tu’ungafasi deflection off Noah Lolesio’s kicking boots, as well as a tougher defensive unit saved the day for the Blues with the win at home, 20-19.

Unlucky from the Brumbies who were just eliminated from the Final 4. They started off well in within the first couple of Montreal from Inside Centre Irae Simone in the No.12 shirt. The usual change of faces in the 2nd half have certainly helped them return in contention, especially with Lachlan Lonergan’s superb two-try performance from sub hooker that almost gave them a chance to overtake the Blues for the win in the dying seconds. Yes, it’s hard to watch if you’re a Brumbies fan when Noah Lolesio’s drop-goal attempt was blocked by Ofa Tu’ungafasi where the ball eventually went into Blues’ hands that confirmed their spot for next Saturday’s final at home v Crusaders. Unfortunately, an inconsistent 1st half spell left them a lot of pressure to get the job done before a robust Blues defense sent them the final message which was too late.

And congratulations to the Blues with the win on home turf at Eden Park in Auckland. They responded really well to the Brumbies’ early headstart where the Blues put in an excellent first-half display; Credit to Hoskins Sotutu & Mark Telea with the tries alongside Stephen Perofeta begins the kicking tee towards the goal posts. Yes, there were a couple of disciplinary issues later in the 2nd half when the Blues couldn’t extend their winning share, as well as leaking a couple of tries – that almost got their ticket stolen by the Brumbies at the last minute for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders. But they hung in there tough right until the final hooter where their robust and desperate defense gave the Blues and its home supporters a sign of relief. As long as the Blues watch their discipline, there’s no doubt they can run the Saders ragged en route towards another Super Rugby championship with a mix of talented and big-name stars in their squad.

90 matches done, one to go with the Final to close out the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at Eden Park in Auckland next Saturday at 5pm AEST.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from the Blues v Brumbies Semi-Final in the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

Tom Robinson put in a huge shift on the second row at No.5 tonight for the Blues after he did everything possible to shut down a threatening Brumbies attack defensively. His near two-meter build and being at his prime right now gave the opposition team plenty of nightmares, with credit from his own numbers that helped stop the Brumbies from overtaking in their tracks. That same two-way communication applies in order to keep the Blues up front every time Robinson was being tested with his attacking contribution. As long as he keeps playing like this tonight, then he will make sure that the Blues robust and desperate defense will shut down the Crusaders at home once again next Saturday.

Next up is Stephen Perofeta in the No.15 Blues shirt at full-back. He displayed an all-round presence both in attack and defense that kept the Blues team’s hopes up right until the very end. Perofeta has no problem kicking into goal to share the workload with skipper Beauden Barrett, while running back and forth where he unpacked every bit of his natural game with the slam & tackle through each each end of the pitch. The physicality that allows him to be flexible as well as the team-work offered to support & protect his Blues team; these traits will be a series of Perofeta’s main weapons going into next Saturday’s final v Crusaders in a bid to take home the Championship.

And we’ve gotta say that the Brumbies are very good with substitutes, especially in the 2nd half when it comes to hooker Lachlan Lonergan – who came on for Folau Faingaa with 27 minutes to go. He was very dangerous to the Blues when the Brumbies made up lost time from 20-7 down after the break that almost cost them a Top 2 berth v Crusaders next Saturday. The patience was there with the help of his team-mates & winning penalties via the maul before Lachlan sorted his finishing touches from the usual throw-ins twice past the TRY line. But an inconsistent first-half run threw a lot of pressure to get the job done past a robust Blues defense before it was too late that ultimately cost them the final.

#BLUvBRU #SuperRugby #Brumbies #Blues #Rugby #TomRobinson #StephenPerofeta #LachlanLonergan #EdenPark #RugbyUnion

2022 Super Rugby Pacific Quarter-Final 4: Top 3 players from the ACT Brumbies v Hurricanes Game

Irae Simone was one of the outstanding players for the Brumbies tonight in the No.12 shirt at Inside Centre. He created so many headaches to the other opposition end off the back of the Canes’ lost penalties and poor defense. That way, his work can be easy done where not only he collected a TRY in the 1st half but he also backed up as a support/cover player every time Simone checks in going forward to make sure the Brumbies are in the right track, as well unpack his finishing touches. And he too also limit the Canes’ opportunities with the ball in his tracks defensively. All in all, he’s the complete package in the midfield where Simone never stops running back and forth all night long.

Next up is fellow Brumby Lachlan Lonergan who replaced Folau Faingaa in the 56th minute, where he played a really big role of his team’s 2nd-half comeback in front of their home supporters at GIO Stadium. His throw-ins looked excellent as always, as well as a brilliant read on defense that derailed the Canes’ 2nd-half performance. It gave his side a chance to take advantage of the opposition team’s errors when Longergan was tested in attack, before he handed over the keys to over his support men & they made his life easier as the Brumbies were well and truly safe within the winner’s’ circle.

And Joshua Moorby rounds off the Top 3 when he was excellent at full-back in the first-half for the Hurricanes. He credits the team’s excellent start with the talk-up there, especially when the ball came to him before he unleashed himself past the TRY line twice that gave the Canes’ a small lead at the half-time break. But they just couldn’t keep the momentum when a few mistakes and lost penalties via ill-discipline let him down with limited attacking opportunities that preclude them from staying ahead; the pressure then spread to his forwards where it was too hard to stop a threatening Brumbies attack while the clock ticked against them before it’s too late later in the 2nd-half.

Rugby News, Brumbies 2nd-half resurgence kicked the Hurricanes out of the Final 8 as they battle the Blues in the semis at Eden Park next Saturday

We wrap the first week of the 2022 Super Rugby Playoffs with the fourth and last Quarter-Final tie between the ACT Brumbies and Hurricanes here at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

It was a crash and bash Opening 40 where both teams experienced a mix of infringements with Len Ikitau being sent off under a red card that gave a huge blow for the Brumbies, while Owen Franks had to sit ten minutes in the naughty chair when it comes to the Hurricanes camp.

Nonetheless, it’s the Hurricanes who has the lead at half-time, 15-22 – Having made an excellent start courtesy of Joshua Moorby’s double TRY before the Brumbies began to make up some lost time & fought back with also both tries of their own.

But the winning team that came on top is the Brumbies as they took their semi-final spot next Saturday v Blues for a shot towards a Chiefs or Crusaders Final at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ. They were eight points down at one point with 30 minutes to go before they took advantage of the Canes’ poor throw-ins and lost penalties that came back to bite them in return, courtesy of two Toms in Tom Banks & Tom Wright.

The final score here at GIO Stadium is Brumbies 35-25 Hurricanes.

Hurricanes was be gutted to be thrown out of the Final 8 by the best Australian Super Rugby team right now and not complete an all New Zealand Final 4 showdown. They got the ball rolling with two early tries & a couple of three-point penalty goals that gave them the advantage to build a lead and try to stay ahead. However, mistakes have been plugging through square pegs in a round hole where poor line-outs & continued lost penalties not only robbed their finishing opportunities with the ball, but it also spread to their defense where the Canes’ just let that slip away against a resurgent Brumbies attack.

And the only Australian Super Rugby team standing into the Final 4 belongs to the ACT Brumbies. They had to play 14 men for a while without Len Ikitau after his unfortunate red card earlier in the 1st half over a dangerous tackle on Aiden Morgan’s jaw. But not hope is all lost when the Canes also experienced some disciplinary issues that helped the Brumbies fought back with a seven-point trail at the break. Then a couple of fresh faces off the bench benefitted one way while they took advantage of the Canes’ missed opportunities going forward, as the Brumbies ultimately came out on top as the winning team.

Now the Brumbies on the cusp towards another Super Rugby Final where these supporters will be right behind them through every step of the way, whether they’re tuning in from home on Stan Sport/9Gem or travelling to Eden Park in Auckland by their side.

Beauden Barrett’s last-minute drop goal for the Blues broke the Brumbies’ hearts last night with a 19-21 win in Canberra

It was a very close and low-scoring game last night at GIO Stadium in Canberra, where we saw the best of both Super Rugby teams in action from both Australia & New Zealand; ACT Brumbies v Blues from Auckland. The home team fired off well with the early lead before Blues fought back with a one-point buffer at half-time, 7-8. Both teams never game up later on where the Brumbies re-gained the lead with a minute to spare. Unfortunately, the Brumbies just couldn’t holf off towards the finish line, when they were hijacked by Beauden Barrett’s sensational drop-goal that secured his Blues side the win they truly deserve away from home. The final score is 19-21.

Unlucky from the Brumbies with the heartbreaking loss which left their home supporters frustrated. The home side started off well alongside a strong defensive shape where their opponents have trouble getting past them at times throughout tonight. However, they were punished with two yellow cards in the first-half which was one part being let down, while the Blues swooped a last-minute lead change towards half-time. Then there’s a lack of fire from the backline, where their limited contribution going forward have also let the home team down. It’s a high standard the Brumbies just couldn’t match with the Blues, which puts so much pressure defensively before Beauden Barrett struck them a huge blow in the end.

Congratulations to the Blues with an unbelievable win v the top-ranked Australian Super Rugby team, ACT Brumbies. Now they may have been behind in some areas, especially with the slow starts & poor defensive responses along the way. But they’re always excellent in the attack that scared off the Brumbies where the Blues bide their time patiently, especially with a number of winning penalties/advantages before they were able to get the job done. And the Blues just never gave up based on their best strengths & style of play, which also helped inspire them to close this match-up with the win via Beauden Barrett’s drop-goal.

We now have one game left this afternoon to round off Week 14 when the Highlanders welcome NSW Waratahs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. Then we finish off the regular season next weekend before finals time; Brumbies travel to Auckland v Moana Pasifika next Saturday Night, while Blues head to Leichhardt Oval in Sydney v Waratahs at the same time.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from the ACT Brumbies v Blues Game in Week 14 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

The Blues have a real hero in star man Beauden Barrett at first-five eighth after his heroics last night. He brings a lot of creative and attacking ideas that helped get the ball rolling for his Blues team. The patience is there when the Blues bide themselves some time, especially when going up against a robust Brumbies defense. It helped his Blues side win penalties, as well as a couple of successful tries before he finished off the game perfectly with a drop goal kick by himself. He hopes to leave a legacy for Auckland by gifting them one or two Super Rugby trophies, while helping his side dominate this decade in place of the Crusaders.

The next standout Blues player is rugby league-turned-union convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at inside centre. He loves being part of the attack by smashing his way through the Brumbies defensive line, as well as shielding the opposition half that helped the Blues gave a couple of clues on where to plant that TRY line. His physicality and pace also helped him flex his defensive contribution, especially when he successfully chased down Nic White at one point. He’s loving the XVs so far straight away after a decorated career in the NRL, as he hopes to nail down a Super Rugby title soon before putting his hat for All Blacks selection.

And Darcy Swain proved to be a menace to the Blues last night on the second row, having frustrated them a couple of times.
Yes, he would be disappointed with the yellow card over a rash tackle where the Brumbies dearly missed him that saw the Blues snatch a late lead ahead of half-time. But he never puts a foot wrong when it comes to his contribution on the pitch, thanks to his tall reach & mobility. He always ensured that the his Brumbies stopped the Blues from coming in its tracks defensively; He also formed a brilliant response going forward with the pace & physicality where the home side stayed well in this fight. Unfortunately, he dearly missed his backline where they weren’t firing like the Blues did, which was the one huge area that came to bite back the Brumbies.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from the Brumbies v Crusaders Game in Week 13 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

We have to say that Scott Barrett made his Crusaders a lot easier to execute tonight on the second row. He can unpack everything from attack to defense where he runs back and forth, as well as smash his way through the Brumbies defensive half. It just goes to show that Scott knows where to hold the opposition areas accountable before he sends the message over to his team-mates & help them back up, so they can find that TRY line & grab these five-pointers every time through the gate. And his contribution tonight exactly shows why he’s not an easy player to face against any opposing team, when the Brumbies just couldn’t find a way to escape past the men from Canterbury.

Another Crusaders standout player tonight at GIO Stadium in Canberra is Bryn Hall, who plays the No.9 scrum-half position. He struck a brilliant balance between communication and designing the attack, so Hall can make the best of his physicality in two ways; bring his Numbers in to finish off the work for him or help him know where to plant that TRY line. It’s a two-way street where his Crusaders team were just simply firing on all cylinders, with Hall worked really hard for the majority before he deserved an early mark by the time the Saders were well safe towards winning in the 66th minute.

And Irae Simone played really well at inside centre for the Brumbies in the No.12 jersey with two tries tonight. He’s proven to be a dangerous figure against the Crusaders defense where Simone is a very good communicatior, especially when he reaches out for help from scrum-half Nic White, before he unleashes his finishing touches with the pace that earned the Brumbies valuable five-pointers. And Simone continued to flex his attacking prowess by covering up his support runners that helped the Brumbies make up lost time later in the 2nd half. But it just wasn’t his night when the team’s poor first 40 left them little time to upsurp the Crusaders, despite the early lead.

Rugby News Australia, Top 3 players from the Fijian Drua v Brumbies game in RD8 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

There’s one word to describe Tom Wright tonight; outstanding, even at full-back. He’s got so much speed to process when his Brumbies team found some holes where the Drua struggled after these missed chances, and Wright’s ready to punish them with the ball from start to finish. He sent a message to New Zealand teams following his two tries that there’s more to come from the man, who has Wallaby & NRL experience, to run them down soon.

The next Brumbies player to look at is Irae Simone on the inside midfield at No.12. Not only does he back up as one of the support players, but he can also be a menace to Drua when it comes to the executions that reflect his team’s strong start. His passing and reading look tip-top that require communication with team-mates to keep the ball in play; you saw Len Ikitau protecting him by shielding the Drua defense while they left the finishing directions to fly-half Rodney Ioda. He continues to be a valuable starter where Simone’s blessed to play around & assist tries that brought him to the best of his abilities, such as Tom Wright, Rob Valetini, Andy Muirhead & Nic White. It will be interesting to see what he has to offer in the coming weeks v New Zealand teams, as Simone hopes to add on top of his two Wallabies caps later this year.

And Onisi Ratave stood out for the Fijian Drua tonight after a full 80 minutes on the right-wing at No.14. He was always there to give himself a helping hand when being tested in attack and defense. It goes to show with the numbers around him, Ratave used his physical and pacey force that frustrated the Brumbies at times through his natural game, especially in the 2nd half. He credits his team-mates with the clear & concise read from the Brumbies defense being under pressure when Drua has the ball on hand, before Ratave took these finishing opportunities & scored these Tries twice that gifted his team big points. Imagine if this scoring spree happened from the beginning of the game; that would be awesome. However, a poor start left them too late with the loss tonight.

Rugby News, Brumbies return to winning ways with an easy win v Fijian Drua in RD8 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

Brumbies returned to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane tonight following their loss last week v Queensland Reds, as they buckle up this time v Fijian Drua. They fired off well in the first half while Drua was scoreless at the same time, 12-0. Although Drua finally opened their scoring account later on with two tries on the board, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Brumbies from scoring. The full-time score is Fijian Drua 12-33 Brumbies, as we just completed Round 8 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific.

We got to say that the Brumbies backline was on fire, especially with the two tries from Tom Wright & Cam Clark continued to shine for the second week running. The maul after the line-outs was brilliant when they used the ball well in good hands, which is contrary to how Drua failed to live the expectations in one particular area. And they continued to cash in the Drua’s weaknesses with another few tries from hookers Billy Pollard & Connal McInerney, where the Brumbies continued to extend their winning share past the half-time break.

Meanwhile, Fijian Drua’s always strong after the break when Onisi Ratave scored two beautiful tries off the wide right. If Drua launched their big scoring spree in the 1st half, they would’ve been neck in neck with the Brumbies and potentially controlling the game by storm. However, a scoreless first 40 left them too late to catch up where a messy attacking line & poor throw-ins cost them a hard-fought loss.

So both teams will now take the next week off for Round 9 before they return in action against the New Zealand sides beginning in Round 10; Drua v Blues & Brumbies v Highlanders during the Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne.