The Brumbies have finalised their pre-season trials with a closely fought 24-19 loss to the Highlanders in Wagga.
It really was a game of two halves with the Brumbies enjoying the better of the first half scoring 19 points before the Highlanders dominated the second half, keeping the Brumbies scoreless in the process.
The Brumbies got on the board early with a try to Tevita Kuridrani following a 60 metre run from Henry Speight down the right wing after a Highlanders turnover.
The visitors had their chances to hit back in the opening quarter following two notable Brumbies errors from kicks going dead in goal but were unable to capitalise on those chances with handling errors letting them down.
Their best chance in that period came from a rolling maul off lineout in the attacking 10 metre zone but they were penalised for obstruction.
The Brumbies began to dominate the second quarter and started with a scrum they moved 10 metres upfield before gaining a penalty. From the kick for touch, Tevita Kuridrani held onto a pass from Christian Lealiifano to score his second of the night under the posts. Nic White converted to make it 12-0.
They then extended the lead with their third try of the night to Henry Speight off a nice run from Robbie Coleman, leaving Highlanders defenders in his wake. Lealiifano’s conversion made it 19-0.
Once again, the Highlanders best chance to open their scoring came undone with obstruction on a rolling maul in the Brumbies 10 metre zone and the score would remain at 19-0 at half time.
The Highlanders came out fired up in the second half and finally got on the scoreboard with a try to replacement Ryan Tongia and converted by Lee Allan to reduce the gap to 12.
The Highlanders suffered an injury blow when Shaun Treeby was stretchered off after colliding with Tevita Kuridrani and he was followed off the field shortly after by Josh Hohneck who got himself into a bad position in attempting a tackle.
But they were the next to score after a deflected kick on attack fell back into the arms of the kicker and Teihorangi Walden bagged the five pointer. The conversion from Allan made the score 19-14.
In the 59th minute, the visitors were reduced to 14 men with Ryan Tongia shown a red card for a dangerous tackle in the air on Robbie Coleman following a kick.
Nic White followed him to the naughty chair with a yellow card of his own with 15 minutes reamining.
And just after that, the Highlanders took the lead with replacement Dan Pryor scoring under the posts and Allan added the extras to make it 21-19 with around 10 minutes to go.
As the game wound down, Lee Allan extended the Highlanders lead to five with a penalty goal.
With the full time siren sounded, the Brumbies had one last chance to steal a draw or win starting with a penalty 90 metres from the tryline and they almost managed to do so with Robbie Coleman darting through the line and his final pass to Joe Tomane was ruled forward to deny them at the death and let the Highlanders off the hook.
Image C/O www.mtphoto.com.au
The G&GR MOTM
Tevita Kuridrani – Doing what he does best with 2 tries on the night.
A solid game from David Pocock in his second game back.
Henry Speight put on some powerful runs when given the space.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Kuridrani 2, Speight
Conversions: White, Lealiifano
Tries: Tongia, Walden, Pryor
Conversions: Allan 3
59 min – Ryan Tongia (Highlanders) Red
65 min – Nic White (Brumbies) Yellow