Home Sports ACT Brumbies beat Fijian Drua in round two match

ACT Brumbies beat Fijian Drua in round two match


Jesse Mogg, playing his second game after returning from a six-year absence in France with half an eye on a Wallabies comeback, scored a late try double to cap a comfortable 42-3 win by the Brumbies over Fijian Drua in Canberra.

The game was all but over when the 32-year-old entered the contest but he enjoyed the two tries that put the seal on a dominant victory as coach Dan McKellar was able to give plenty of time to his fringe players.

The former Brisbane Broncos junior was a Brumbies regular in his first stint from 2012, winning a Super Rugby final and playing the first of his three Tests against the Lions in 2013.

He left in 2015 to join former Brumbies coach Jake White at Montpellier and has said he’s keen to give Dave Rennie an option when he picks his Wallabies teams this season.

The Brumbies’ second win in a row was in stark contrast to their opener.

Six days earlier Lachie Lonergan popped up at the end of a flowing move to rescue a win against Western Force, and he was over for the opener just nine minutes into this match.

Three minutes later Tom Banks, the Wallabies fullback who has started the season sharply after breaking his arm against the Springboks mid-2021, showed blistering pace down the right wing as the Fijians’ defensive line was exposed from a lineout in the Brumbies half on the left.

The try showed a telling difference between the well-drilled Brumbies, working the ball like clockwork, and the willing but ill-disciplined Super Rugby rookies.

The hosts added a third through Wallabies centre Len Ikitau after just 22 minutes and a rout looked on the cards, but just as they did in the opening loss to the Waratahs, the Drua settled as the game wore on.

A penalty goal to Baden Kerr sent the Brumbies to the sheds up 20-3 at the break. McKellar bemoaned some scrappy play mixed in with the good, and his team put the game quickly to bed in the second half.

Wallabies winger Tom Wright finished off a routine move on the right on 46 minutes before the excellent No.8 Rob Valetini surged over and managed to ground the ball through a desperate pack of defenders.

Veteran prop James Slipper, who had been troubled by a back injury during the week, was removed at halftime while captain and fellow front rower Allan Alaalatoa joined him in the second.

Robbie Valetini of the Brumbies passes during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between the Brumbies and the Fiji Drua at GIO Stadium on February 26, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Robe Valetini. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Replacement forward Billy Pollard had an outstanding cameo, strong in defence and also featuring a heady gallop into open territory.

Ryan Lonergan started the match ahead of Nic White and impressed at the scrumbase before being replaced by his more experienced teammate.

With the Brumbies up 32-3, Wright should have added a second, fumbling with the line at his mercy, and Andy Muirhead was just unable to reel in a kick to plonk the ball in the corner.

The Drua fought hard in the final 20 minutes, having their best period of the game, and, aided by a series of penalties, twice crossed the Brumbies’ try line only to be held up by strong defence.

“That’s the hallmark of a complete side,” said former Wallaby Justin Harrison on the Stan Sport coverage.

“Well drilled teams show up in pressure moments , no matter what the scoreline.

“They respect the other team, they respect the ball, respect points, respect the process. The Brumbies are so good at process. Players like Billy Pollard making choices to come down here and improve. This team is well drilled. This Drua team will review this match and learn about that.”

With six minutes to go giant Drua lock Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta burst through with clear and the crowd got off their feet willing him home. As he was reeled in his pass went loose and the chance was gone.

Instead, it was the ruthless hosts who showed the guests how to finish a move clinically, Mogg crossing in either corner in the final five minutes to take the Brumbies tally to seven.

Former Wallaby Drew Mitchell, speaking on Stan Sport, said the Drua were improved on their opening match against the Tahs.

“They just need to find ways now to put longer phases of play together, he said. “Some decision making means they put too much pressure back on themselves at various points. It has to be said the Brumbies were too classy at the end.”

Alaalatoa said the focus before the game had been working on defence.

“Getting set early and if you look at the second half the boys did well to hold them out. They were camped down ourr end for 15 to 20 minutes so you have to give our boys a wrap for that.

“We had a great impact and Billy came on and had a helluva game. That was the basis of set piece dominance there and while we’ve got a bit to work on we’re got to be proud of that.”


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