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Live: NSW Waratahs vs ACT Brumbies

Date

Daniel Briggs

The Brumbies are five points clear at the top of the Australian conference with just one round remaining in the regular season. The only stumbling block for the Brumbies entering the finals will be if the Queensland Reds win and they lose. Positions on the ladder are decided by win tallies if teams are tied on competition points. Both the Brumbies and Reds have 10 wins going into the last round. The Brumbies can afford to lose if they secure a bonus point for losing by less than seven points if the Reds beat the Waratahs. The Reds need a bonus-point win over the Waratahs and the Brumbies to stumble to leap-frog and steal the guaranteed finals spot. The Brumbies play the Auckland Blues at home next Saturday afternoon.

Thanks for joining us for our live blog. You have to feel sorry for the Tahs. They dominated 80 per cent of this game but that statistic in itself just shows how tough Jake White's Brumbies are. They never lost their composure, took points when they came and grounded out a gutsy victory. Michael Hooper was again outstanding for the ACT, while Nic White's kicking, particularly out of danger, proved crucial. For NSW Barnes was dangerous but also came up with key errors, while Dennis was a powerhouse in the forward pack.

Full-time: The Brumbies have done it! That was all guts as they snapped a 10-year Sydney hoodoo. Brumbies 19 - Waratahs 15.

79th min: But NSW loses it straight away as Bernard Foley knocks on.

78th min: Ben Mowen turns the ball over at the breakdown but his good work is undone straight away as Hooper knocks on. Tense finale here.

77th min: But ACT is penalised for 'sealing off' at the breakdown. The Tahs have three minutes to pull of an upset now.

75th min: He's been dangerous on his feet, but Barnes just sent his second cutout pass tonight into touch. The Brumbies have a lineout 30m from the Tahs' tryline now.

73rd min: Disaster for the Brumbies. They were deep on the attack but after the ref falls over, the Waratahs somehow get the scrum. I want a Royal Commission into that call!

70th min: I take it all back! Brendan McKibbin lines an attempt up from 49m out for the Waratahs ... and it sails just to the right of the posts. Brumbies 19 - Waratahs 15.

68th min: The Tahs are pushing for a third try here. They've had back-to-back penalties and have declined to kick for goal twice.

65th min: PENALTY GOAL! Jesse Mogg drills a beautiful attempt from 35m out and 5m in from the right touchline to restore the visitors' four-point lead from half-time. ACT seems to have woken up a bit now. Brumbies 19 - Waratahs 15.

62nd min: TRY! The first time they have thrown the ball about all match and the Brumbies score. Big question mark on Holmes's pass from left-to-right out to Speight, who beats his man to cross out wide. That pass looked at least 2m forward. To rub salt in, Holmes drills the conversion from out wide on the right touchline to reclaim the lead for the ACT. Brumbies 16 - Waratahs 15.

57th min: TRY! That might force the Brumbies to play some footy. Barnes just slices through with some fancy footwork and only looked like being tackled by the upright. He rebounded off it though and converts his own five-pointer. Now it's Waratahs 15 - Brumbies 9. And all of Queensland cheers a NSW try for the second time ever.

54th min: White leaves it badly out to the right though. That was an ordinary effort from about 35m out and 15m in from the left touchline. Brumbies 9 - Waratahs 8.

53rd min: The Brumbies will line up another penalty attempt here for a high tackle on Speight. Pretty soft decision though. We're not playing tiddlywinks!

50th min: PENALTY GOAL! Barnes nails it with ease but that was also a massive compliment to the Brumbies' defence. NSW is finding it very tough to crack. Brumbies 9 - Waratahs 8.

49th min: The Waratahs have changed their tune here. After more attack on the Brumbies' tryline, they get the penalty and this time will go for the three points.

47th min: Great defence from the Brumbies. The Tahs could have caused trouble on the ACT's tryline by spreading the ball wide instead of going for one-out plays. But when they do attempt to spread it wide, Barnes's cutout pass nearly ends up back at the SFS.

44th min: A coach-killer for Jake White there. Another clearing kick from Nic White was pounced on close to the halfway line by Henry Speight. The Brumbies moved the ball down 25m out from the Tahs line but concede a penalty for not releasing at the breakdown.

Second-half: We're under way in the final 40 minutes here.

Stat attack: The Brumbies only had 38 per cent of possession and 33 per cent of the territory in the first 40 minutes. It's been a gutsy effort to hang in and take any points on offer when they are available. They've only had one win in Sydney in their history. Can they make it No.2 tonight?

Blocka's just answered my question straight up! ACT will play it safe and try to win any which way they can. Put your mortgage on it (and direct all complaints to Blocka when Henry Speight bags four tries in the second half).

Our man on the ground, Chris 'Blocka' Dutton is rapt with the chicken curry on offer in the ANZ Stadium press box. He's also doing some work he reckons and has this to add: The half-time entertainment is some bloke singing songs. But the real entertainment is the catch-the-ball competition. The ball machine is launching them 50m into the air … this could get messy. The Brumbies are playing like they don’t want to lose rather than trying to win. It’s Jake White’s game plan down to a T. Don’t expect them to open up in the second half, they don’t want to give the Tahs a sniff.

It hasn't been flashy, but it's been a physical and absorbing contest so far. The Waratahs have dominated proceedings but find themselves behind on the scoreboard. The Brumbies' defence down their own end has been impressive, while White has also booted them out of trouble several times with booming clearing kicks. For the Waratahs, there's been nothing ugly about the effort of big David 'Rocky' Dennis - he's been the best player on the field in the first 40 minutes. It will be fascinating to see White's tactics in the second 40 minutes. Will the Brumbies push for tries to try and secure a bonus point? At this stage it looks as though they will be happy to win the game in threes and back themselves to get the job done at home next weekend. don't count the Tahs out, though. If they can convert field position into points they are a massive show to cause an upset here.

Half-time: PENALTY GOAL! And the Brumbies' scrumhalf makes no mistake to extend ACT's lead at the interval. Brumbies 9 - Waratahs 5.

40th min: The Brumbies will have one last chance to add to their tally with a penalty 22m out about 15m in from the right touchline. Holmes will line this one up.

37th min: Jesse Mogg pulls out his superboot again to try and convert a penalty chance from 49m out right in front, but the kick sails just to the left of the posts.

Does anyone else have the State of Origin Queensland's Everywhere song stuck in their heads? "NSW - that's in Queensland!" It is for tonight anyway, you can guarantee Reds fans cheered Polota-Nau's try as hard as any Waratahs fan just then.

31st min: TRY! It had to come and you can't say NSW didn't deserve it. After another penalty, Barnes takes a quick tap and from the next play, big Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau dives over to get his side on the board. Barnes hooks the conversion across the face of goal. Brumbies 6 - Waratahs 5.

29th min: Another penalty, another scrum option for the Tahs. They have to turn this into points or it could come back to haunt them.

28th min: Big cheer from the Tahs crowd at ANZ Stadium. NSW was given a close-range penalty there, but elected to take the scrum instead of kicking for goal. More of it I say!

24th min: PENALTY GOAL! Outstanding effort from Mogg. That kick was from 40m out close to the left touchline and just snuck over. Brumbies 6 - Waratahs 0.

23rd min: The Waratahs are penalised in attack under page 45,890, section 67, subsection iii of the rule book, the 'haven't blown one in five minutes' rule, and Jesse Mogg lines up a long range penalty attempt.

19th min: Berrick Barnes finds touch 5m out from the Brumbies' line, after setting up a great attacking chance for the Tahs with a scything bust from a kick return.

12th min: PENALTY GOAL! After absorbing a wealth of Waratahs attack in the early exchanges, the Brumbies turn their first chance down NSW's attacking end into points via Holmes's boot. Brumbies 3 - Waratahs 0.

10th min: Dave 'Rocky' Dennis makes a half-bust down the left edge for the Tahs. But they lose the pill and White boots NSW deep back into their own half once more.

9th min: Super kick from ACT No.9 Nic White to relieve the pressure. That's why he was part of the Wallabies' most recent squad.

7th min: Again the Waratahs look dangerous down the Brumbies' left-side defence before Jesse Mogg produces a carbon copy of Holmes's earlier play to spoil their attacking chance.

5th min: The Waratahs look really sharp here. They've had all the ball and field position.

3rd min: The Waratahs looked dangerous there as Drew Mitchell sliced through the line. But Brumbies flyhalf Zack Holmes saves the day, getting his hand to Mitchell's attempted pass to Lachie Turner.

1st min: Brumbies flanker Michael Hooper is already bleeding from the cheek. There's been no warm welcome from his future teammates, with Hooper to join NSW next season.

Kick-off: We're under way at ANZ Stadium.

 

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