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ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds

Come back soon  Christian

The Brumbies missed the ultra cool goal kicking of their injured Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano. They had several opportunities to level the scores from the kicking tee, but Mogg couldn’t convert. Lealiifano was a rock with his goal kicking for the Brumbies and the Wallabies last year, kicking several crucial goals. He had ankle surgery at the end of the Wallabies European spring tour last year and will be out until mid-March, with a hoped return against the NSW Waratahs. The Brumbies could’ve done with him on Saturday night.

The best-dressed waterboy ever

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham caused a SANZAR stir when The Canberra Times revealed he would be running the water for the Brumbies this season, while Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher sat in the box. It resulted in a backflip Greg Louganis would have been proud of. It meant Larkham was no longer allowed to run the water as some other Super Rugby coaches claimed it wasn’t fair. So instead of wearing a trackie, Larkham had to sport the official team suit and he was restricted to patrolling the side line.

Cooper takes early lead over Toomua

If Saturday night was an early audition for the Wallabies No.10 jersey then Cooper put a fair bit of distance between himself and Matt Toomua. Cooper was pulling the strings like a puppet master in the season opener, throwing cut-out passes at will. His kicking boot was also singing a pretty tune as he nailed almost everything. Cooper flicked it wide for Turner to score the Reds’ first try of the season. But Toomua struggled to get any room at all and when he did he didn’t have much choice but kick for field position. The Reds defence played a large part in that. Every time Toomua touched the ball they were in his face, giving him absolutely no room.

Brumbies boss does some temping

The Brumbies have a new chief executive, but only temporarily. Former Prime television boss and Brumbies board member Doug Edwards has been appointed interim club chief executive. The Brumbies announced the decision at the pre-match function and told staff and players on Thursday last week. Edwards has been on the Brumbies’ board for a decade and steps in to fill the hole left by Andrew Fagan. For the past two months the Brumbies have been operating without a boss. Edwards will start on Monday. It’s good timing given the Brumbies were working their way through a membership bungle for the round-one game. About 1000 members didn’t get their tickets for the opening match. The Brumbies have been working for almost a month to rectify the problem.

Courage Patty

Any doubt about Pat McCabe’s courage were put the rest when he left the field at the end of the first half with blood pouring from his head. He copped the knock when he put his neck on the line in a solid tackle on halfway. McCabe was playing his first game since June last year. The hard-nosed centre has broken his neck twice since November 2011. The 20-Test Wallaby considered quitting rugby after breaking his neck the first time. There were more concerns his career was over when he broke his neck again against the British and Irish Lions last year. He has also battled knee and hamstring injuries and was knocked out in his comeback in a trial match last month. Brumbies prop Ben Alexander described McCabe as the bravest players he’s played with.

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Fro Bros living on the edge

Both the Fro Bros, Henry Speight and Joe Tomane, showed their blistering pace early in the game to get breaks. Tomane had a stunning burst down the left wing and if it wasn’t for Reds fullback Aidan Toua’s blinding speed he would’ve scored the opening try of the game. But the Fro Bros were also very quick to come off their wings in defence. It opened it up for the Reds to exploit the space out wide. It played a part in their first two tries. Quade Cooper found Lachie Turner with a lovely cut-out pass for the Queensland winger to dive for the corner on the right. Then on the left things opened up for Toua who blew everyone else off the park with his flying feet. That kid is quick!

Reds (Lachie Turner, Aidan Toua, Chris Feauai-Sautia tries, Quade Cooper 2 penalties, 3 conversions) 27 bt Brumbies (Jesse Mogg try, Mogg 3, Nic White penalties) 17

At Canberra Stadium. Crowd: 13,670.

Referee: James Leckie


And it's all over! Reds win 27-17.

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78: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Mogg drops a sitter and then fails to regather, allowing Chris Feauai-Sautia to gather and score the winning try. Cooper converts. Reds 27-17.

74: Huge roar as Jake Schatz drops the ball inside his own 22 and the Brumbies have the scrum...

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70: The Brumbies pressing and pressing but some handling errors preventing them from cutting the margin. But they are putting the Reds under the pump despite that. Penalty! Mogg has the shot to level it...but he drags it wide. Missing Lealiifano? Reds 20-17.

62: So Scott Sio burrows over the line, but the ref has sent it upstairs. Looks to be held up...and that's what they say. Penalty to Brumbies. They are coming hard. Reds still down a man...lineout.

58: Quade Cooper does a lovely impersonation of my four-iron there, catching his penalty kick a bit fat, you could almost see the divot fly forward with the ball and it falls well short. Reds 20-17

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54: And Holmes had barely taken his seat in the sinbin and Mogg darted into the corner and it's game on here at Canberra Stadium. Still another 9 minutes of advantage here for the Brums. Tough kick for Mogg from the sideline and he misses. Reds 20-17.

53: See you later! Greg Holmes pays the price for Eddie Quirk's cynical earlier penalty in a rolling maul. The ref warned the Reds and when Holmes was caught offside the ref reached for his pocket and gave him a 10-minute break. Brumbies have the man advantage now...

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50: But some ill discipline from Tevita Kuridrani, getting caught in front of the kicker, allows Cooper to restore their advantage. Andrew Smith has been ruled out for the rest of the game with concussion. Not sure what happened there. Reds 20-12.

48: They must make kicking tees a lot heavier than they used to. Needed a quad bike to bring it out to Mogg, who knocks the penalty kick over the crossbar and it's Reds 17-12.


So here we go for the second half. Still no McCabe as the docs staple his head back together. And the Reds straight on the attack McCabe returns to the field. Hooray! Great news for lovely young man! He really is very polite  and it's great to see him back, touch wood...









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