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Ex-Wallaby heaps praise on high-flying Brumbies after Waratahs win

By Finn Morton
Charlie Cale of the Brumbies celebrates scoring a try with team mates during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs at GIO Stadium, on April 06, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles believes the high-flying ACT Brumbies look more “balanced” this season than the history-making side who delivered a Super Rugby Au title to the nation’s capital in 2020.

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With six wins from seven matches this season, the Brumbies have proven themselves as one of the teams to beat in Super Rugby Pacific this season. After an unconvincing start to the season, which saw them fly under the radar, the Brumbies have begun to hit their stride.

The Brumbies made a statement in mid-March with a drought-breaking 27-21 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin, and they backed that up with a comprehensive win over Moana Pasifika and a clinical win on the road in Brisbane.

But their most recent win in round seven of Super Rugby Pacific has Australian rugby experts talking after the Brumbies thrashed arch-rivals the NSW Waratah 40-16 at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Saturday evening.

Wallaby Rob Valetini and wing Corey Toole were among those to get their name on the scoresheet as the Brumbies reinstated their status  as “the best Aussie side” in the prestigious southern hemisphere competition.

“They were better than they were a week before against the Rebels, the Tahs, but the scoreline doesn’t reflect that at all,” Stephen Hoiles said on Stan Sports’ Between Two Posts.

“If you take into consideration that you needed to see a response and I think there was an improvement in the Tahs but… the class of the Brumbies just came through.

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“You always felt that… every time they needed to get another score or evert pressure, the Brumbies, they just did it, what almost looked effortlessly against them.

“The Brumbies always seem, over this current last few years with (coach) Stephen Larkham, against the Tahs that they seem to always have an extra couple of tricks up their sleeve and they seem a step ahead tactically.

Match Summary

4
Penalty Goals
3
4
Tries
1
4
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
113
Carries
77
7
Line Breaks
3
14
Turnovers Lost
17
5
Turnovers Won
9

“It probably just highlighted why they’re the best Aussie side at the moment. I know the Reds are playing some good footy but the Tahs, yeah they tried bravely but they’re jut not good enough at the moment.”

Four years ago, Noah Lolesio was the hero for the Australian rugby powerhouse with the young fly-half playing a starring role in the Brumbies’ first Super Rugby title in more than 15 years.

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Lolesio, now 24, is still front and centre for the Brumbies in attack as the team’s first-choice No. 10. The dropped Wallaby scored almost half of the Canberra side’s points in their 24-point win over the visiting Waratahs.

But since winning that Super Rugby AU crown, the Brums have made some noticeable changes – differences which make the Canberra-based side even more threatening as they go about their rugby business on the field.

“When they were dominant three to five years ago in Super Rugby and Super Rugby AU and whatnot when COVID was around, they didn’t have the ability to score the points in the number of ways they’ve got points at the moment,” Hoiles explained.

“They were essentially…there was a penalty and (Tom) Banks would kick them within five to eight metres every time… just constant maul tries.

“That was the main weapon they had. Now they’ve got Tom Wright and Corey Toole and they’ve got long-range tries, they’ve got backrowers who are scoring long-range tries.

“They’re a more balanced (side)… It gives me confidence that this style of footy will be able to go to Auckland in the wet and play a style of footy that can compete with that but they can also go to Queensland in the dry in the middle fo August and go toe-to-toe with open-style rugby.”

While they’ve played one more game than the undefeated Hurricanes, the Brumbies are equal on competition points with the men from Wellington. The Brums are third on the ladder behind the Canes and table-topping Blues.

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Abe 2 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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T
Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
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