The Brumbies have come away victorious against traditional foes the Waratahs 19-13. The historically heated encounter delivered plenty of emotion and spectacular displays of attacking rugby.
Two tries from Folau Fainga'a and 80 minutes of defensive brilliance by the Brumbies sees them retain the Dan Vickerman Cup for 2019.
The first points of the game came from a miracle try from Waratahs captain Michael Hooper.
The flanker snapped up a Bernard Foley penalty goal attempt that ricocheted off the upright. After catching the ball, he had only but to fall over the line to score. Foley missed the straight forward conversion to make the score 0-5 after only six minutes.
The Brumbies then hit back through a powerful short range try to Folau Fainga’a, making himself the first Brumbies player since 2003 to score in 5 successive matches. The last Brumby to achieve this was Andrew Walker back in 2003. Christian Lealiifano converted to make the score 7-5 after 13 minutes.
Try scoring machine Folau Fainga’a was in again ten minutes later when the Brumbies flexed their trademark mauling muscles. The Brumbies pack was beginning to display some ascendency, and the Waratahs were unable to halt the powerful drive. Christian Lealiifano was unable to convert from the sideline this time however.
After 23 minutes the score was 12-5.Veteran Waratahs tight head Sekope Kepu received a yellow card in the 34th minute for attacking the head of Lachlan McCaffrey with a swinging arm. The Brumbies would carry a one-man advantage into the second half.The first half concluded with the score at 12-5 to the Brumbies.
Emotions were running high on the field and the Canberra faithful were humming with anticipation for what the second half had in store.The Waratahs scored first in the second half, a lovely offload by Israel Folau set up an easy try in the corner for winger Alex Newsome.
The kicking troubles continued for Bernard Foley when he missed the conversion, leaving the score 12-10 after 50 minutes.
The Brumbies swiftly responded with a penalty try from a maul that involved all but two Brumbies backs. The automatic seven points was accompanied by a yellow card to offending Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes.
This extended the Brumbies lead to 19-10 after 55 minutes.Following a Brumbies scrum penalty just outside their 22, Bernard Foley had the chance to bring his team within a converted try. Foley was accurate, his first successful kick of the night made the score 19-13 with 15 minutes left to play. For the final 15 minutes the Brumbies had all the possession.
The Brumbies earned a scrum from a collapsed ruck with ten seconds left on the game clock. The ball was cleared from the scrum and booted into touch by Christian Lealiifano to the delight of the Canberra fans. The final score remained at 19-13 in favour of the Brumbies.
The win was crucial for the Brumbies not only for their standing on the ladder but for the pride of holding the Dan Vickerman Cup.
Plus500 Brumbies (12) 19 (T. Fainga'a 2, PEN; C Lealiifano)
Waratahs (5) 13 (T. Hooper, Newsome; P Foley)
1. Scott Sio (17. James Slipper 42’), 2. Folau Fainga’a (16. Josh Mann-Rea 56’), 3. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin (18. Tom Ross 59’), 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Rob Valentini (19. Murray Douglas 52’), 7. Tom Cusack (20. Pete Samu 46’), 8. Lachlan McCaffrey, 9. Joe Powell (21. Ryan Lonergan 66’), 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Lausii Tauliauli (23. Mack Hansen 75’), 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Tom Banks (22. Jordan Jackson-Hope 71’),