The Waratahs bandwagon headed down the Hume highway in full flight this week, only to return deflated after losing 28-23 to the Brumbies in an incredibly physical encounter.
It was truly a game of two halves, with the brumbies dominating the first half, whilst the Waratahs launched a comeback effort in the final 25 minutes that would ultimately fall short.
First half tries to Nick White and Jesse Mogg (with a very dubious grounding) meant the brumbies lead 20-9 at the break. A try to Tevita Kuridrani in the 53rd minute pushed the score to 25-9. It was only then that the Waratah's decided to show up. Late tries to Hooper and Folau were not enough to catch the fast-starting brumbies, who deserved their victory.
1. Set Pieces: The tahs sorted out their wayward lineout but then completely lost the plot in the scrum. The Brumbies dominated the scrum and took valuable penalty points from it. The inclusion of Kepu was too late for the Tahs. The damage had been done.
2. Field Kicking: Talk about polar opposites, The brumbies backs gained huge territory from smart kicks. The Waratahs, namely Bernard Foley couldn't kick to save his life. His constant kicks for a 10 metre gain gave the Brumbies great field position.
3. The Centres: The brumbies pairing of Mccabe and Kuridrani were excellent, they completely nullified numerous Waratahs attacks with huge hits, and I honestly thought they killed Kurtley Beale at one point. Their pressure, coupled with some strong running were pivotal to the Brumbies strong start.
4. Consistency: The tahs showed that when they're on they can score quickly, unfortunately they left it too late. You can't expect to beat such a well drilled brumbies team in Canberra when you only play 30 good minutes of rugby. The close score line is a testament to the talent of the Tahs.
5. The Ref: Now i want to preface this and say I thought he did a very good job in quite a heated encounter. But the Brumbies were allowed to get away with a lot before they received cards. Furthermore the brumbies last three scrum feeds were the furthest thing from being straight. With the scores at 25-23 at that point, a penalty could have changed the game.
Ultimately the Brumbies deserved their win as they showed up ready to play while the tahs didn't. Here's hoping we can bounce back against the rebels.
What did you think of the result? And what was key in deciding it?