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What we learnt: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies

Rod Davies of the Reds breaks away from the defence. Click for more photos

Super Rugby: Brumbies vs Reds

The Brumbies take on the Reds in round nine Super Rugby at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Photo: Bradley Kanaris


ACT BRUMBIES 23 (Scott Fardy, Joseph Tomane tries; Nic White 2 conversions, 3 penalties) bt QUEENSLAND REDS 20 (Beau Robinson, Eddie Quirk tries; Quade Cooper 2 conversions, 2 penalties) at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. Referee: Steve Walsh. Crowd: 30,004.


The Brumbies had a couple of stumbles in their start to the season. But they will be pleased with six wins from eight games and enjoy a well-earned break on their bye week. The Brumbies have scored just one bonus point this season. But they've lost just two games and will hold on to top spot in the Australian conference for at least one more week. They are setting themselves to make a charge the play-offs for back-to-back years. Despite a horror injury toll in the early part of the season, including David Pocock, Fotu Auelua, Henry Speight, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio, Joseph Tomane, Sam Carter and Leon Power. Pocock is the only player who won't be back this season and the Brumbies could get reinforcements for their game against the Waikato Chiefs on Anzac Day. Most thought the departure of coach Jake White would hurt the Brumbies. But coaching duo Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher have continued on and the Brumbies are well placed to chase a top-two finish.


Reds skipper James Horwill was a dejected man after the heartbreaking loss. It was the first time the Reds had lost back-to-back home games since 2009 and the tight three-point defeat leaves their season delicately placed. They are by no means out of the running. But they have a mountain of work to do to force their way back into finals contention. The 2011 champions look more composed with the ball, a break from their helter-skelter style of the past. Quade Cooper is mixing his superb and unpredictable running game with a much-improved kicking performance. But the Reds are being let down in execution. They had a mountain of possession and plenty of chances to kill off the Brumbies. They just lacked the finishing touch to get over the line. They've lost five of their eight games and could slide down the ladder this weekend. Captain James Horwill said: "It's disappointing ... it's not good enough to get close enough. We need to be better, we can't just expect a good 40 minutes to get the result, that's not good enough from us."


The Reds got a perfect attacking chance in the first 10 minutes of the second half. It ignited the Reds and their crowd. The Brumbies scrambled to stop a try in the corner and Reds flanker Eddie Quirk held Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore in a ruck. Moore took offence and lashed out with a swinging arm while Queensland scrumhalf Will Genia dived over in the corner. Referee Steve Walsh sent the whole play upstairs to the television match official. The crowd called for Moore to be sent off when replays of his swinging arm were shown on the big screen. Walsh reviewed it all and Moore was lucky to escape without punishment. The Reds were camped on the Queensland line for almost 15 minutes but after three attacking lineouts, they lost the ball. It lifted the intensity in the match as the unrelenting Reds tried to cut the 13-point margin. But the Moore incident will come under scrutiny to see if Genia should have been awarded a try.


Young gun Tom Staniforth lumbers around the field with "tree trunk legs" and a 19-year-old body. Described as a beast and animal before his first Super Rugby game, Staniforth got his chance to shine at Suncorp Stadium. At 196 centimetres, Staniforth isn't the biggest lock going around. He's not the fittest, either, and he was caught offside. But with just one season of Canberra club rugby under his belt, Staniforth's biggest asset is his mongrel. The former Canberra Boys Grammar student is tipped to captain the Australian under-20s at the junior world championship later this year. The part-time pub glassy wasn't fazed at the prospect of taking on former Wallabies captain James Horwill. He pointed and yelled at Reds skipper at a lineout in the Brumbies' defensive 22 metres. He's on a two-week supplementary contract to replaced injured locks Sam Carter and Leon Power. But if he gets another chance he has shown he can hold his own. He got through 65 minutes in his first game.


The Brumbies dominated the Reds in the first 40 minutes. They had enough possession and field position to the blow the Reds off the field in two games. But one of their problems this season has been their finishing touch. The Brumbies have been brilliant in open play, are willing to offload and their forwards are among the best ball-playing big men in the competition. But either they get too excited or their missing the polish on their performance. They had 70 per cent possession in the first half had 40 mauls compared to the Reds' 15 and had 10 offloads compared to Queensland's one. The Reds have been regarded as the best free-flowing broken-play team in the competition in recent years. But it was the Brumbies doing all the running in the first half, racking up 220m, while the Reds only got 54m of open space. They've got all the attributes, they've just need patience when the line is beckoning. On multiple occasions they slipped through gaps or had the Reds scrambling in defence. But almost every time they pushed an extra pass or dropped the ball instead of letting the pressure take its toll. That patience will be a crucial element to the Brumbies' hopes of being a title contender. Possession swung in the second half with the Reds camped in the Brumbies' half for 21 minutes.

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Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
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ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
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SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
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NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
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SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
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England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
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South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
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Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
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Team P W L D +/- Pts
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Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
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