ACT Brumbies

Super 14 round 8; Aussie round-up, scores & highlights

Super 14 round 8; Aussie round-up, scores & highlights

Some very big ups (Waratahs and Force) and some very low downs (Brumbies and Reds) in round 8 of the 2008 Super 14.

Both the Force and the Tahs got exactly what they needed. The Western Australians needed to show that they could dig deep to win against tough opposition at home, and this is exactly what they did. Trailing 3-14 at half time, the big guns Giteau, Sharpe and Cross (gotta be in the Wallaby squad now) stepped up to the plate to deliver two tries, the second of which was in the final minutes and defeat the current champion Bulls 15-14.

Giteau was absolutely everywhere in attack and defense and made things happen through sheer will and talent. Youngster second/back rower Sam Wykes was also influential in the dying minutes. Such a win was exactly what was needed to break the home hoodoo for the Force.

The wish come true for the Tahs was managing to string some attacking rugby together to whup the Blues 37-16 – finally earning a 4 try bonus point. Even with Elsom out and (maybe because of?) coach McKenzie getting the arse, they put together a great alround performance that saw them hold on to seventy odd percent of possession. Phil Waugh almost single handedly drove this stat with perhaps a career best performance. One place Australia is not short on talent is at number 7.

What was really encouraging was seeing some the younger, exciting attacking talent like Horne and Mafi (pictured) getting a run to counter the Blues pace out wide. With Jacobs out for a few weeks from a knee knock, could this encourage the Tahs management to make this more of a regular feature?

Both of these wins have set up a fascinating clash next week which cunningly Sky won’t be televising. Which win would be better for Aussie S14 finals hopes and who’s likely to pull it off?

Brumbies semis hopes went from ‘slight’ to ‘fµck all’ with a 28-42 try fest spank from the Chiefs. Even with Captain Insano Mortlock back, the ACT side didn’t have to class across the park to stop the Chiefs scoring 6 tries, 3 of which came from simple ball strips straight of the arms of Brumbies players. With Sivivatu and Masaga the Chiefs have the most rediculously pacy back 3 in the comp and they made the Canberrans pay.

Encouragingly the Smith bothers George and Tyrone still oozed class and combined well for a couple of tries. I seriously think the younger brother is pushing for a Wallaby squad look as he has a great nose for the try-line.

As for the Reds, not only did they lose away to the previously winless Cheetahs, but they also lost at least half of their drive and talent for the next 4-6 weeks when Chris Latham got a knee-knock. I didn’t see the game, or even highlights thanks to Sky, but it looked pretty bleak just after the break when the Queenslanders were down 24-0.

Youngster Brando Va’aulu scored two tries in the second half to make it more respectable, but the Reds season hasn’t lived up to the dizzying heights of the win against the Bulls a couple of weeks ago and it’s all going a bit pear-shaped. Final score 29-14.

ACT Brumbies

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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