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Rob Valetini

The Wallabies has returned to St Etienne for their 4th & final Pool C group stage match v Portugal earlier today where they opened the scoring account first with a three-point penalty goal before they fought back well from their opponent’s brief 1st half lead with three tries ahead of half-time 24-7. Portugal on the hand has made every serious effort all along which is their 2nd time playing in the Rugby World Cup since 2007 also in France, having made a few big scoring attempts to try & get themselves back on track.  Although they eventually found one at last later in the 2nd half, but the refs’ repeated NO TRY decisions saw the Wallabies hold on & extend their winning share via the bonus point 34-14. So Portugal are out now where they will end up 4th with one match left v Fiji next Monday. Speaking of Fiji, all the Wallabies can hope for is for them to lose during their week-long off if their small Quarter-Final chance can be possible v England on the 15th this month.

Nick Frost has made a huge difference in the Wallabies first half display on the Second Row at No.4 just like he has been all along as seen with the Brumbies in Super Rugby level. He’s two metres tall with excellent physical power to not just hold the opponents up through a brick wall but also muscles his way forward when his side has the ball before Nick earned an early rest not long after half-time at 24-7.

There’s another Brumbies player who never stopped working hard also for the Wallabies is Rob Valetini at No.8, having saw off a threatening Portuguese attack whenever possible. He’s got the pace, physical strength, backing up/communication & vision there to help find the Wallabies get past the opposition line with the ball where tries were made there. They too had another great year in Super Rugby where the Brumbies finished Top 4/semis, but here’s hoping they can get some support & create some robust competition in order to win trophies going forward – which is a clear message Rugby Australia must fix ASAP.

And Samuel Marques has been such a huge threat to the Wallabies own half, who has lots of experience playing in France as well for the Portuguese National side at half-back (No.9 shirt). He has great control with the ball while he communicated with his team-mates well in order to strike the best scoring chances possible; Plus, he can be a handy conversion kicker too. Yes, Portugal should’ve scored more than just the two tries if the ref didn’t deny them, but sure they will continue to improve over time – it’s the things we love to see in World Rugby.

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The Wallabies Week 2 match-up of the 2023 Rugby World Cup continues where they took on Fiji yesterday morning our time at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in St Etienne, France. Wallabies may have took the first three pointer & the TRY scoring points on the board, but it’s Fiji who made the most out of several three-pointer penalties through the posts going into the break 8-12. Later on, Fiji went on to extend their lead off the one and only TRY while continuing to score another few three-point penalty goals. Although Wallabies scored another TRY back, but at the end of the day, the winner goes to the Fiji after they def. them for the first time in 69 years 15-22. Wallabies will need to must win that next game v Wales on Monday in Lyon to try & finish 2nd in Pool C that will see them go into the Quarter-Finals next month, while Fiji will have a week off before taking on Georgia next Sunday in Bordeaux.

The best No.9 half-back on ground goes to Simione Kuruvoli from Fiji, having contributed a lot of the points that saw them stay ahead before his side found the winning touches towards the end. He might not be the tallest, but he’s so excellent at kicking all over the pitch thanks to his impressive physicality including these conversions between the two posts, as well as clear & effective communication that got the best out of his team including an improved 2nd half run.

There’s also a towering second rower who helped Fiji stay ahead in none other than Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta at No.5. Not only he has such a tall frame with NZ provincial rugby & Super Rugby experience, but also so powerful when it comes to his physicality mainly in attack that gifted his side the maximum amount of points opportunities possible. They both are gonna keep it calm over the next two RWC games v Georgia & Portugal, so no pressure whatsoever before QFs time.

And Rob Valetini did the best he can to try & stop Fiji in its tracks in the No.8 Wallabies shirt. He’s got a great all-round game as always as being tested with his visual and physical contribution that led to some opportunities along the way when it comes to accruing these points. But unfortunately, ill-discipline & a lack of fire from the Wallabies back half saw Fiji take the upper hand, which is very worrying indeed if they lose again v Wales or else they’ll have to fly straight back home.

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By Daniel Cullinane

Twitter: @dcullinane02

Even after the defeat by the Springboks in the last round of the Rugby Championship, the Wallabies would go into this match with quiet confidence. With home advantage against an All Blacks team who have looked shaky in this competition and beyond, they would have felt that they could get on top of their old rivals.

New Zealand would be in a better place after a resounding win against the Pumas, but there is still a sense that they are unsure of themselves. The Wallabies would seek to test the All Blacks alleged fragile state. The Wallabies set the tone for the game by advancing on the All Blacks during the Haka, signalling that they were really up for this one. However, as the game got under way it was the New Zealanders who took the initiative.

After just 3 minutes, All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho powered over the Wallabies try line to open the scoring. Following a successful conversion from fly half Richie Mo’unga the score was 0-7. The men in blacks dominance continued and was rewarded with another 3 points from the boot of Mo’unga. They were building nicely. The Wallabies were yet to turn up.

After 17 minutes, some good work by the Australians from a lineout lead to a kickable penalty. Veteran Aussie fly half, Bernard Foley who was exemplary all evening opened his account with three points. Some slick handling saw Wallaby full back Andrew Kellaway score in the corner. But on closer inspection it was clear that he had been unable to ground the ball.

The Australian team were growing in confidence and starting to impose themselves on the All Blacks. They kicked to the corner after being awarded a penalty at the scrum. There was a short drive from the ensuing lineout and then a pick and go to score by Aussie No8 Rob Valetini. Foley made it 10-10.

With an All Black going to the bin, the momentum was firmly with the Australians. Marika Koroibete charged up the field and smashed into New Zealand wing Caleb Clarke. The Wallaby forwards then dismantled the All Blacks at the resulting scrum. Although the scoreboard didn’t reflect it, Australia were on top. But then, everything changed. The Aussies hit self destruct. A superb and powerful break by Clarke ended with a pile-up near the Australian try line. Indiscipline meant that Tom Wright and Darcy Swain were sent to the bin. The tables turned almost instantly, with the All Blacks being held up over the line. Half time came, the score 10 all.

The men in Black had clearly been told to take advantage of the 13-man Australia, and did so in spectacular fashion. A testing kick in behind and then some rapid passing saw Samisoni Taukei’aho score his second try of the match. Soon the Wallabies were back to a full compliment and picked up another kickable penalty. Foley rarely misses, making the score 13-17.

More indiscipline led to Wallaby scrum half Jake Gordon going to the bin. New Zealand soon took advantage with Richie Mo’unga dissecting the Aussie backline to touch down near the posts. He converted his own try, making the score 13-24 to New Zealand.

Beauden Barrett then reminded everyone what a world-class player he is with a superbly weighted chip over the gold defence that was collected by wing Will Jordan, who raced away to score. The All Blacks were in cruise control. Australia then fired a shot of their own down the other end with Andrew Kellaway running on to a flat pass from Foley to grab a much needed score. Foley converted. Minutes later, Kellaway was at it again. Some long passes stretch the New Zealand defence allowing the full-back to score in the corner. 27-31 to Australia.

New Zealand then extended their lead through a Mo’unga penalty, but Australia weren’t finished yet. A brilliant one-two between Koroibete and Pete Samu saw the back row forward score. Foley then drew the teams level at 34 all. A remarkable comeback by Australia.

When Australia were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, the replacement scrum-half Nic White stepped up and kicked the points for Australia to take them into the lead. As expected, the All Blacks fought back but then gave away a penalty 2 metres from the Aussie try line. Then a moment of controversy saw referee Mathieu Raynal award a scrum to New Zealand for Bernhard Foley allegedly time wasting.

The All Blacks saw their chance. They won the ball, and then moved it wide, allowing Jordie Barrett to score in the corner in the 80th minute. The kick was missed, but it didn’t matter. The men in black had done enough to win the match and retain the Bledisloe cup. Australia will say they were on the wrong end of a refereeing decision, and that cost them the game. Their discipline needs to be fixed before the return fixture. Final score 37-39. Great game.

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It’s the best of the best Super Rugby teams across both countries match-up between the Crusaders & Brumbies here at GIO Stadium in Canberra. Brumbies may have opened the account early but the Crusaders held them comfortably throughout the first half, 5-23. Now the home side’s strength with the fire offs helped them rebound later on, but the Brumbies just left it too late as the Crusaders continued to stay ahead with the win at 26-37.

Brumbies fired off well with the early lead but then they struggled to stay ahead, when the failure to clear out via the kicking threw so much pressure to their defensive half. Although, they began to bounce back later with three tries scored in the 2nd half. However, they were well behind by that stage while the Crusaders extend their winning margin before it’s too late. It would’ve been a super close contest if Noah Lolesio and Rob Valetini weren’t injured, where the Brumbies functioned at times without them. But unfortunately, their winning run came to an end as they will need to focus on their weaknesses, before preparing for next week’s round v Blues from Auckland on Saturday night at home.

And Crusaders are outstanding as always where they just completed their three-week Australian tour on a high note v the current top-ranked Australian Super Rugby team here. They’re good at bouncing back, as well as spotting the Brumbies’ lack of kicking clearance in the first half. They took their time wisely with the ball before they simply run the Brumbies defensive blocks ragged with a mix of pace & gaps spotted down low that led to a comfortable half-time lead, followed by an easy 2nd-half spell with the win. They’re now set for a fantastic end to the regular campaign at home in Christchurch with the Drua next Friday and the Reds in two weeks time; they’re also relying on the other results that will go their way as well before Playoffs time.

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It was a huge scoring game last night when the Melbourne Rebels began to bounce back from 3-17 after half-time with two tries from Cabous Eloff & Richard Hardwick, but it’s the Brumbies who were firing in all cylinders throughout the full 80 in a 17-36 win at AAMI Park.

The Rebels were happy to welcome back a few key players into the fold, such as two backline players in Andrew Kellaway & Reece Hodge, plus loose forward from the bench in Richard Hardwick. These players have played a part in their comeback after half-time alone, which wowed the home supporters off from their seats every time the Rebels score. If they’ve done this from the start, then the Rebels would’ve still been in the running but they have left it too late following a poor first-half spell.

Meanwhile, how good is this Brumbies attack! It’s incredible to look back with a whopping six tries on the board, mainly from full-back Tom Banks, who led this charge. We also saw some outstanding finishing from Tom Wright with two tries himself on the wide right, and the same goes with their back-row forwards in Rob Valetini & Jahrome Brown at the blindside (No.6) & openside (No.7) respectively. It’s only week 4 of 18 so far, but we’ll see if this Brums attacking shape will put to the test against the five New Zealand sides later on.

The Brumbies will return home in Canberra next Friday at GIO Stadium in a Grand Final Super Rugby AU rematch v Queensland Reds. And Melbourne Rebels are still looking for their first win of 2022 when they travel to Sydney next Saturday night v Waratahs at the SCG.

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What a way to close out Round 3 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific, having witnessed such a close encounter with the Brumbies v Waratahs Saturday night match-up last night. Brumbies fired off with the early lead in the first half (17-6), although the Tahs have made up for some lost time after the break but fell so short by seven points (27-20).

The Brumbies were so organized when it comes to their forward pack, especially in the first 40 with two tries on the board. They handled the Tahs well thanks to the opposition team’s poor start, where they took great use in return while building persistence before the Brums were able to get the job done. Now the home side may have begun to falter with the Tahs rebound in this next run after half-time, despite the additional TRY from Irae Simone in the midfield. However, a few late changes and a huge defensive shift towards the end saw the Brumbies come out unscathed.

Meanwhile, unlucky from the Tahs with a much-improved team after half-time, where they almost extended this game through golden point & have an extended shot towards upsetting the Brums in the process. The change of attack spearheaded by fly-half Ben Donaldson saw him successfully find his path through the gate, having called out 1-2 support numbers, such as Angus Bell & Will Harris, to finish the playmaking work for him. They just wished they marry up their brilliant 2nd 40 into the first half, when a poor start saw the Tahs fall left behind before they left it too late with not much time to stay in contention.

The Tahs will be back playing on 2 pm next Sunday v Western Force at Leichardt Oval in Sydney, while the Brumbies travel to Melbourne on Friday night v Rebels at AAMI Park.

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Hats off to Rob Valetini who was outstanding last night on the blindside back row at the Brumbies, as he never backs down every time Valetini has the ball on hand. It goes to show that Valetini has so much physicality and some speed to burn down, having played a huge part in the Brumbies’ fantastic first-half performance that includes a try for himself. And he’s blessed to contribute in this forward pack while firing on all cylinders, where Valetini was rewarded with Wallabies experiences by his side at Super Rugby level.

Next up is Nick Frost on the second row at No.5 for the Brumbies, where he also put in a full show last night. Like Valetini, he has the tall and physical package that kept the Tahs quiet under his toes, especially when Frost made good use of the opposition’s slow start earlier on, before he held them back defensively. The Brums did pull him off the bench for a bit after he started 70 odd minutes, but he came back two minutes later where Frost prevented the Tahs from leveling the score into golden point. Imagine what Frost could do all game with credit from a productive Brumbs forward line, having scored the team’s 2nd try in the first half, as it wouldn’t be possible to get the job done without him.

And Ben Donaldson gave the Brumbies a few nightmares when running into their end, especially in the 2nd half, as he was the standout player last night at fly-half for the Waratahs. We love how he injects some pace and kicking power when Donaldson has the ball in hand, in which he can control the ball whatever he likes to play with the attack. His two assisted tries to Angus Bell & Will Harris after half-time have put the Tahs back in the contention, that almost went into extra time & have another shot towards winning, but they just left it too late following their poor start in the first half. He’s 22 right now with so much playmaking and kicking quality potential to nail down a starting Tahs spot at No.10 every week, as his contribution will send a much decent threat to any other Super Rugby team out there under his watch.

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Andrew Kellaway has been a brilliant addition to the Wallabies squad on the wing since he first entered the International level back in July this year at home v France, he has never looked out of depth with his finishing skills which is explosive to blow out any opposition team.

Whenever the Wallabies have the ball in hand they were able to march around his best strengths so the communication is there before he exactly knows where to ice that cake with his hat-trick TRY v Argentina tonight, credit to the Melbourne Rebels who continue to nurture these wingers into international stardom like Marika Koroibete & Andrew Kellaway.

Next up is another Wallaby at Number 8 in Rob Valetini where he played a huge role around the team’s attacking support system tonight, he gets involved more often when giving them a helping hand through that build-up base which makes his backline a lot easier to execute.

And communication is a very important skill before processing the physicality in any way to push Valetini around these support runners through the channels, it’s the same thing he was tested defensively where he held back the Pumas’ lost opportunities that profited more points in return for the Wallabies.

And how about we introduce Thomas Gallo from the Pumas who just played his first International cap off the bench after half-time on the front row & made an impact straight away at age 22.

He boasts a big physicality frame which is a nightmare for the Wallabies defensive half when they began to falter later on & Pumas began to take advantage with some numbers before Gallo executed that damage past the TRY line twice, it may be a loss as a whole team in the end through ill-discipline & lack of attacking touch earlier on but there’s more to come in the Pumas shirt from Gallo.

#Rugby #ARGvAUS #RugbyChampionship #Wallabies #LosPumas #ThomasGallo #RobValetini #AndrewKellaway #RugbyUnion

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Bayley Kuenzle has been great last night for the Brumbies. It may not be the usual craft he occupies at fly-half but started in the midfield. Where he & Len Ikitau were patient going forward based on the Canes early errors. That is how they were able to get away with the headstart in the first 40.

His side may be a tad behind at the half-time break. But the Canes have not changed much with their shape since then. So he read it well again to apply those tackle busts going forward. Before they eventually found a way to get the lead back. Thanks to the winning penalties that saw Ikitau score this TRY.

In the end the Canes thought they have bounced back. But the constant mistakes along the way & being ill-organised denied them the win. Bayley showed that he is capable of playing a key role for the Brumbies. The playmaking skills is there to add some pace/physicality. While looking to find some decoy runners towards the execution. Those skills he learned at No.10 can be transferred to an any attacking role. Especially in the midfield where Bayley can still have a bright future here. And credit to the defense on ending the Canes winning run.

Rob Valetini

How about we applaud on Rob Valetini who plays in the Brums blindside. Where he has been so exceptional in all areas last night. Even when going up against a strong New Zealand side in the Hurricanes. Well he has kept them quiet for the majority based on their ill-discipline. It is something Rob has kept himself patient when being given the ball.

That took ample time to force his way past the Canes end. But his Brumbies side eventually found a way to stamp their first touch points. As Rob unpacked the physicality in contrast to what Hurricanes cannot offer. Now the Brums may be a tad behind at HT via the penalty goal. But he again noticed the lack of Canes progress going forward. Where he managed to repeat his best strengths in return. Before applying the defensive skills to block them out. And make the Canes rush with heaps of pressure towards the final siren. Which gave his team a sigh of relief at home.

Rob has a bright future ahead for both club & country. Not only he was destructive against the Australian sides earlier on. But learning from playing off the Kiwi teams is what made himself better. Having protected his forwards pack from the Canes messy work. Then adding some blows against them going forward. It shows that he is ready to take on the All Blacks & Springboks later this year. And Dave Rennie should use his him v France as preparation for next month.

Dane Coles

He has been very productive at hooker for the Canes last night. Having gone off the ground immediately to protect his defenders. And block out the Brumbies early conversion attempts. With great teamwork & talkup that won penalties.

It allowed his backline to get themselves into touch via Jordie Barrett. Where Dane managed to keep his toes going forward with the maul. Before he touched one down for the first five points. In which later became seven thanks to the successful conversion kick. This goes to show that he still has a lot to offer in all areas. Even at age 34 right now he has the leadership to pull off. And it made the youth stars around him & his life at the Canes easier.

But unfortunately they just fell very short in the end. When there is plenty of ill-discipline going on that saw the Brums being patient. Then putting the pressure back to his side which is very hard to stop defensively. It limits the ability to get organised going forward that saw Jordie being isolated.

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Rob Valetini is an all-rounder on the blindside tonight. He is so powerful with a balance of speed and physicality. That is how he was able to make every meter off the Force. When the away side unable to get themselves together going forward.

It is the one strength Valetini was able to help out. Thanks to the communication needed to help his backline find some space. And execute these offloads towards the touch line. Which is exactly where the Brumbies was able to court two touchdowns. Just in between the final five to ten minutes of the first half. Once again it does not isolate this attacking setup.

Valetini has been a key player at loose forward. Having played at Number 8 during Week 9 v Melbourne Rebels. He is 22 years old with a bright future ahead both provincial & country. Very important to have him stay there for the big final v Reds. If he can guide his Brumbies team to another premiership. Then his skillset will be a cautionary tale to the New Zealand sides. When the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman begins in two weeks time.

Tom Wright

He played very well on the left wing tonight. The reading was there when his opposition struggled with the attack. It is something Tom did well to cancel that line out kick penalty attempt. And give his Brumbies team the chance to rebound.

It might have taken a while during the first 40 to try and get ahead. But eventually things do start to gel. Thanks to the Western Force who did not really turn around. Apart from the defense. Where the Brumbies remained patient. Before they supplied Tom with the talk up & offload. Which allowed him to get the job done via some room for the touchdown.

His contribution helped the Brumbies stay ahead. As said a while ago that communication is important. Then unpack that physicality. It is exactly how his side are able to close out towards the finish line. Especially during a low scoring game against a defensive minded Force. Now they hope to continue this journey. And look to win their 2nd straight title v Reds.

Tom Robertson

He is a great asset at loosehead for Western Force. Where he has years of Super Rugby expertise. Having played with the Waratahs in the past. And came to Perth this year. It is a good move after fall. After he helped guide his side to their first ever finals tour. In which is a great achievement. While his old side were languishing as the woodern spooners.

The defensive structure is there. Due to his physical build. As his other forwards department guys do. That is a strength Western Force lifted during the beginning of the game. They won a few penalties as well as turnovers to try and reset the momentum. At least the Force were in the game for the majority. It is great teamwork from Tom at his finest who gave his 100%.

But the only thing that lets his down is a lack of attacking feel. We saw how Toni Pulu made a big tackle on Irae Simone just before HT. Referee found it very unnecessary and sent him with a straight red card. As well as a lack of talk up going forward. It means there was no chance of getting themselves over the TRY line. And it ultimately saw the Force being eliminated. But credit to them for the fairytale work through the regular portion.

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