It’s taken 603 minutes of Rugby in 2010 for the Brumbies to finally score 4 tries in a match and capture the elusive bonus point.
Not only did they score 4 tries, they added another 5 for a match total of 9 in a 61-15 demolition of the Cheetahs. There could, and should, have been many more however too many dropped balls inside the Cheetahs 22m zone made for frustrating viewing.
After the Cheetahs opened the scoring with a Naas Olivier penalty, the Brumbies then spent much of the first stanza in the Cheetahs half. With an astounding 78% of possession by oranges, many would have thought the first half would be a walk in the park. Not so, as the Brumbies were guilty of pushing unnecessary passes in crucial areas. The resulting scrums were basically shambolic, as referee Bryce Lawrence failed to get the co-operation of both sets of front rows, leading to numerous resets.
The Brumbies showed early on that they were prepared to have a go at tries and turned down shots at goal in their favour. The first was scored by Captain Stephen Hoiles after 9 minutes. It would take nearly another 20 minutes to score the second. A combination of dropped balls, scrums and the Cheetahs spoiling tactics meant the Brumbies headed to the sheds with a 21-3 lead. Even though the Brumbies had 3 tries, the feeling amongst the crowd was ‘we’ve seen this before this season, get 1 more try and we’ll start cheering’.
The second half was a much better effort from both teams. Rocky Elsom took only 3 minutes to get the 4th try on the board and it looked like a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of the Canberra team. The next half hour was a bit of the old Brumbies style with tries coming from all distances. Ben Alexander extended his try scoring feats with a double and is the leading try scorer for the Brumbies this season. Not to be outdone, the backs chimed in with a few of their own through Ashley-Cooper, Toomua and Mafi.
Toomua’s try looked rather sickening as he crashed into the goalpost pad in the process of scoring. After initially thinking it was a cork, there are suggestions there could be something more serious and scans should reveal the extent of the injury. The last try from Mafi was set up by the chip kick master Huia Edmonds who revelled in the space that was provided by a tiring Cheetahs team.
The Brumbies are now heading into an important period of the season and take on the Hurricanes next week. The team know that there were far too many mistakes and against better opposition they will get punished. Rocky Elsom revealed the lacklustre first half was a result of too much enthusiasm amongst the team and probably led to the dropped ball.
Other news to come out of the game is that Cheetahs no. 8 Kabamba Floors has been suspended for 5 weeks for a spear tackle on Julian Huxley. He was yellow carded at the time and rightly so after an earlier tackle in the air on Huxley. Huxley said he couldn’t remember too much from the game but has pulled up ok after the game.
Put his hand up: Rocky Elsom – Scored the 4th try of the night and was everywhere on the night and involved in a lot of the play. Doesn’t say much off the field but leads with actions on it.
Did himself no favours: A hard task considering the team scored 61 points, Salesi Ma’afu had an off night with his work rate and scrummaging.
Bolter watch: Pat McCabe – Played the full 80 minutes and is not afraid to do some of the hard work and likes to put his body on the line.