Reds beat Brumbies but lose face in a dull kickathon

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Brumbies player Stephen Moore is tackled. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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    Reds skipper James Horwill best described his side’s desperate 20-13 Super Rugby win over the Brumbies at Suncorp last night. “It wasn’t pretty”. It sure wasn’t.

    In fact, it wasn’t even rugby. An AFL game broke out instead.

    The Reds kicked 42 times, the Brumbies 28, making 70 kicks in 80 minutes, most of them aimless nonsense.

    No time for rugby.

    William Webb Ellis would be turning in his grave. He picked up a soccer ball in 1823 and ran with it to create rugby, being sick and tired of kicking it.

    To put the Suncorp kickathon in perspective this Easter weekend:

    * The Chiefs-Force clash at NIB Stadium saw 31 kicks – Force 18, Chiefs 13.
    * The Rebels-Blues game at AAMI Park 26 – Rebels 16, Blues 10.
    * And the Hurricanes-Sharks at Yarrow Stadium just 17 – Hurricanes 13, Sharks 4.

    Where were the most tries scored?

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the latter with the Hurricanes crossing for six, the Sharks twice – just 17 kicks and eight tries. Now we’re talking rugby.

    But the Suncorp game was the most important from the Australian Conference point of view. The Reds had never beaten the Brumbies at the venue, and a fourth successive loss would have been devastating for the reigning premiers.

    The faithful were out in force in a sea of red, all 31,479 of them. And they were in fine voice, trying so hard to lift their lethargic side.

    Somehow the Reds led 17-0 until the 56th minute when Brumbies goal-kicker Christian Lealiifano at last troubled the scorers with a penalty.

    And the main reason why the Brumbies were behind was the eventual turnover count of 27, nearly twice the Reds. And that stat didn’t include the many dropped, and wayward passes.

    In the end, the Reds had to hang on like grim death to secure the win as the Brumbies raised the bar. But all too late.

    For the Reds, Wallaby locks James Horwill and Rob Simmons are still way short of their best. Half Will Genia even more so. On his day he is the best number 9 in the world. That day hasn’t arrived this season as he was caught in possession so many times last night and his delivery was ponderous.

    But debutant fly-half Sam Lane wasn’t overawed. The 21-year-old son of former Wallaby and former Wallaby assistant coach Tim Lane was busy and landed four of his six shots at goal.

    The Reds’ best? Scott Higginbotham who scored both tries, but mighty lucky with the first, the two flankers Liam Gill and Beau Robinson, and the props James Skipper, and Ben Daley.

    For the Brumbies, half Nick White was outstanding, closely followed by skipper Ben Mowen, Stephen Moore, Sam Carter, and full back Jesse Mogg.

    And at last praise for the referee Steve Walsh. Had he been pedantic like most of his peers we wouldn’t have seen any rugby at all.

    He used his commonsense, so what rugby we did see was attributable to him.

    Forget the game. And that goes for both coaches Ewen McKenzie (Reds), and the Brumbies Jake White. Both got it wrong on the night.

    Let’s have more ball in hand.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (56)

    • April 7th 2012 @ 5:04am
      koko said | April 7th 2012 @ 5:04am | ! Report

      was always going to be a boring game.. I mean thats how you need to play against a jake white run team. There defence is so strong and feed off errors from the opposition. Bring on the Reds v chiefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • April 7th 2012 @ 5:13am
      bluerose said | April 7th 2012 @ 5:13am | ! Report

      just like the great Gordon Teitjens said ”kicking is for karate”, i spend this whole week watching the Wallabies of the past 1980-2001 from my rugby DVD collections and im amazed at the amount of running rugby those guys did, its almost like watching the Lord of the Dance, just absolutely amazing, i have probably watched the ’84 Grand Slam over 100time since i was 15yrs old (im 27yrs now), its like the perfect rugby orgasm (in a good way), no unnecessary kicking just ball in hand with lots of electrifying and scintillating running rugby, those players were born to play rugby, Aust were once the kings of magical backline play end to end stuff with the unpredictability of Campo to the dancing feet of Mark Ella, from the linebreaks of Tim Horan to the athleticism of Joe Roff, from Larkham’s ghost running to the straight running of Ben Tune, oh what i would do to bring back those great moments, Mark Ella described his flatline attack very vividly in his wikipedia which shows the rugby brains he’s been blessed with. God Bless running rugby

      • April 10th 2012 @ 5:42pm
        Spikhaza said | April 10th 2012 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

        Agreed! I watched a few classics from the good ol days of 2000 ish recently and i noticed

        – the ball was in play for long periods of time
        -There were BARELY any handling errors
        -Any kicks were attacking and designed to put pressure on the opposition; this created audience interest
        -The scrums weren’t awful, and they weren’t rugby league scrums

        WTF happened?

    • Roar Guru

      April 7th 2012 @ 7:12am
      Who Needs Melon said | April 7th 2012 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      Robinson and Gill in the first half hour won that game for the Reds. If you think back or rewatch it, you’ll notice the Brumbies actually came out hitting the breakdowns hard… but that faded away and they ended up dominated by Robinson and Gill. Others too but they were the standouts.

      Although the Brumbies dropped a LOT of ball (which they need to take individual responsibility for – especially Kimlin), I think Jake White deserves a good share of the blame for that loss too. Why Hooper was left on the bench for so long baffles me. He was good when he came on and the Brumbies came back… but too late once again.

      I like Ita Vaia but he’s not a real 7. More like a South African 7 (Brussow excepted) – big and strong, decent runner but not a fetcher. And the Brumbies desperately needed one in this match so curious why Hooper was on the bench at all. Maybe he has a niggle, maybe Jake thinks he’s still too young, who knows?

      Lealifano had a very quiet match. Was virtually invisible in the first 20-30 minutes. Not sure where he was standing in the backline but Nic didn’t seem to be passing to him at all. Maybe he forgot he was wearing 10 instead of 12 this week. When he did finally get the ball and have some runs in the 2nd half he looked pedestrian too. I’m hoping this is an aberration since I do rate him.

      Lastly I want to give huge kudos to Nic White. He has consistently been one of the best if not THE best of the Australian halfbacks this season and I think this was his best game and he totally outplayed Genia. I know Genia will still end up being first choice for the Wallabies and people will say he is playing badly because of the players around him but I don’t buy that – if I were picking the Wallaby team today, Nic would have the 9 jersey. Well done young man!

    • Roar Guru

      April 7th 2012 @ 7:18am
      Who Needs Melon said | April 7th 2012 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Oh and on the Reds side, a guy who HAS been playing consistently well all year is Tapuia – he continues to impress me. My vote for the Wallaby 12 jersey.

    • April 7th 2012 @ 7:58am
      Red Block said | April 7th 2012 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Have to agree Melon, Link outfoxed White by picking two fetchers who dominated the ruck area and the Brumbies could not get the ball. Reds should have led by more at halftime. Shouldn’t be surprised by so much kicking though, the Reds have won every game at Suncorp this year by using this tactic. Unfortunately it will continue until Lucas or Cooper return.

      Although, why was Gill the only one sinbinned, when in the first half the Brumbies continually infringed at the breakdown. Some consistency please!

      Still for the Reds, a wins a win. Thanks to the conference system, they are back on track.

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    • April 7th 2012 @ 8:00am
      sheek said | April 7th 2012 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      Good morning David,

      A ‘kickathon’ you say? In a game of rugby??

      I don’t believe it……….

      • Columnist

        April 7th 2012 @ 8:45am
        David Lord said | April 7th 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Sheek, 70 kicks in 80 minutes is a kickathon in rugby terms,

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