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.

Rugby News Australia, Melbourne Rebels made up lost time in the 2nd-half but it’s ACT Brumbies who were firing in all cylinders that sealed the win at AAMI Park

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.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from the Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies Game in RD4 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

Tom Banks was outstanding last night at full-back for the Brumbies, where he’s got so much pace and physicality when he has the ball on hand. He credits the back end of the Rebels’ poor start that allowed his forward pack to build the momentum, so Banks and his backline can get around the opposition through the gate with patience over time. And when you look at the support players around him, it’s amazing to play around and be in-line through the channels before Banks wrapped this up quick and easy, whether it’s through an assist or a TRY himself!! We’ll wait and see if he can translate this Super Rugby form into International level for the Wallabies later this year.

Then look over his shoulder when it comes to team-mate Tom Wright on the right-wing in the Brumbies No.14 jersey, as he accrued two tries throughout his full 80-minute spell. He has the same characteristics and traits to burn, like Banks, with some rugby league touch, having run around and communicated well when there were numbers around him. Once these support players fed the ball to him, Tom knows what to do to finish the job and he tormented the Rebels defense into shreds. He’s such another outstanding player to watch, who has everything to unpack & execute within attacking football from the wing.

And Matt Toomua was blessed with a couple of returning stars to the Rebels last night despite the loss, especially when they made up some lost time after the break. Not only did he help them grab some extra points when converting inside the two goal posts, but he also ran a lot before he planned out the attack with the ball on hand, that saw sub loose forward Richard Hardwick struck the Rebels 2nd big score within 10-15 mins to go. It’s just a poor first 40 that left the Rebels too late to catch up while the Brumbies extend their lead, even though it was over 86 minutes of play. Toomua is an important Rebels player to get along nonetheless, as he looks to help them climb out of the bottom as this Super Rugby Pacific season continues.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from Game 2 of the 2021 Wallabies v France Tour

Louis Carbonel is exceptional at fly-half for France last night, having became involved in adding the points they need.

He used his best strengths well with so much physicality and creative vision that limited these chances from the Wallabies going forward, before he brought his men in which ultimately controlled the game with patience.

Then we move onto his team-mate Cameron Woki who was dynamic in both ways on the blindside position.

He looked after the defense well that became the starting point of France’s game plan thanks to his reading.

And Cameron was able to work with the backline on the same page, when he lended a helping hand in the attack that made a good difference.

Without his hard work the French forward wouldn’t be the same without him & he did very well to keep the Wallabies quiet.

Tom Banks was the best player out of the Wallabies camp alone at full-back when he showed explicit pace and physicality in the attack.

However, he needed support players around him where we didn’t see this much and it’s the one weakness that left Tom isolated.

They scored just two tries last night, so the backline players around him must step up if the Wallabies wants to win the Game 3 decider this Saturday.

#ausvfra #louiscarbonel #cameronwoki #tombanks #wallabies #france #internationalrugby #rugby #rugbyunion

Australian Rugby News, 2021 Super Rugby AU Final: Top 3 players from the Reds v Brumbies Game

You got to praise the skipper first in James O’Connor. He was a key player in this Queensland Reds rebuild. Ever since head coach Brad Thorn lured him back in 2019. It may have been a divided move at the start. But he has proved them wrong.

He was blessed with the Reds strong defensive shape. That helped his side win penalties. In which allowed them to suit themselves. Where James scored a couple of three-pointers into the goalposts. They may have been behind ACT Brumbies for the majority tonight.

But Reds were able to take note of the opposition ill-discipline. Based on the amount of late penalties won. Before they finally found a way to nail down a touchdown. All thanks to the skipper himself in JOC. It was enough to get the home crowd cheering on. And celebrate in style with the championship. What an improved man he is right now. Having turned around a corner over the last 18 months. Now he leaves with this trophy!

Fraser McReight

Another Reds player who stood out is Fraser McReight. He is a focal part of this back row department. Both blindside & openside flanker. And never stood himself down through every game he plays. Even when Liam Wright was injured for most of the Super Rugby AU season. Then nailed down his place at No.7 without a doubt.

He was part of the Reds strong defensive setup. Where Fraser was tasked to look at the Brumbies weaknesses. Such as a lack of their decoy runners. And exposed their ill-discipline. That is one thing he held on defensively while they are isolated. Which helped his Reds side win a few penalties.

It may have taken some time to have the Reds fire back going forward. Especially when he used his physicality to knock down a few defenders. But remained patient for the whole time during the second 40. Where Fraser was able to keep the communication close. Before the gap was there for JOC to finish. And there goes him celebrating that big win. Well done on being an key player in that Reds back row. It will be very useful going into the Trans-Tasman leg & Wallabies stints.

Tom Banks

Commiserations to ACT Brumbies who led for the majority. But unable to held on going into the final siren. There is one player who gave the Reds a hard time tonight. His name is Tom Banks at full-back. He knows how to clean the ball out via the kicking to stay away from danger.

It helps him read better. So it can be hard for the Reds to defend. And make them isolate with no option going to touch. That allowed his Brumbies side to get themselves ahead early. Thanks to the patience shown in the attack. Which helped them win a few penalties. As well as more chances with the ball earlier on.

Such as scoring the first touchdown in the 2021 Super Rugby AU Final. Followed by a series of three-point penalty goals from his side. But the most disappointing part was the ill-discipline. Especially during the second 40. When the Brumbies saw their opponents have an extended run against them. With not much chance with the ball as seen from the previous run. Before there were three players sent to the naughty chair. And that ultimately cost Brumbies the win they badly needed.

Rugby News Australia, 2021 Super Rugby AU Week 7: Top 3 players from the Waratahs v Brumbies Game

Tom Banks was really outstanding tonight at full-back for the Brumbies. He has really rapid pace going forward. That is a big warning sign to any opposition defender. In which haunted the Waratahs.

Especially at the beginning of this match up. When his side was given the ball on hand. He was part of their attacking setup that needed to process. The communication is there with the solutions needed to get past them. And it allowed Banks to be part of that passage of play.

Once someone like Noah Lolesio or his backline runners pass onto him. Tom pretty much has full control. Knowing where the Waratahs unable to capture him. And it is really good teamwork after he touched down. That benefited the Brumbies in picking up points. And stay ahead. Despite a messy run in the 2nd 40.

Noah Lolesio

As said just after the Tom Banks report card at No.1. Brumbies still held on with the win. Even though they gave so many penalties away. In which the defensive part was left exposed by the Waratahs.

But you cannot undermine the Brumbies attacking unit. When you have one of their star 1st five-eighths on display. It is Noah Lolesio who assisted most of their touchdowns. Credit to the patience needed to get around the opposition half.

Especially when the Brumbies have the ball. That means they got ample time to put themselves ahead. And Lolesio was there to direct where they wanted to go. It allowed him to open some space through the channels. Where his attackers managed escape to the Waratahs danger zone. Before they upped the momentum early after a few big point touches. Then stay there that fended them off so close.

Jake Gordon

He is so influential after coming back from injury sustained in Week 1. Got the ball rolling at last to target the Brumbies defense. In which was clear that helped them win penalties. Especially with the ball in hand as given by the referee.

The credit comes from the Tahs defense who followed his demands. Read a couple of the Brumbies players being isolated on the spot. And it allowed Gordon to find paths to chase them down. That was successfully converted into points this time. In which helped stay in contention.

Although he would be gutted not to see themselves going into overtime. But Jake gave every reason to frustrate the Brumbies. With himself as the tribal chief in this Waratahs rebuilding phase. After a really difficult past week. When Rob Penney was sacked as head coach. There are still some weaknesses to work on such as the consistency to fire up. As the Tahs have something to offer. Just like the much improved run at home tonight. That their fans would almost feel like winning.