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The Roar


'Statement game': Brumbies smash Moana Pasifika as Lolesio, Wright and Toole light up Canberra

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22nd March, 2024
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Noah Lolesio delivered a timely reminder of his quality on Friday night, leading the Brumbies to a “statement” 60-21 win over Moana Pasifika in Canberra.

With Les Kiss’ Queensland Reds earning much of the early season plaudits, the Brumbies, who entered the match in fifth spot after three wins from four matches, took the back seat over the opening month. No longer.

A nine-try to three win over Tana Umaga’s much-improved side once again put the Super Rugby competition on notice a week out from their highly anticipated clash against the Reds in Brisbane.

Noah Lolesio had a night to remember against Moana Pasifika at GIO Stadium on March 22, 2024, in Canberra. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The victory came despite injuries to Wallabies Len Ikitau and Blake Schoupp, as well as the ever-reliable Andy Muirhead.

But playing behind a tight-five that rolled up their sleeves and Rob Valetini, the reigning John Eales Medalist whose physicality has returned, Lolesio delivered his best performance of the year.

Lolesio, 24, ran to the line and put teammates through holes. He even finished the evening with a well-taken try, too.

He wasn’t the only one who starred either, with Tom Wright’s ball-playing prowess on display.


Corey Toole, the man with the quickest feet in Super Rugby, also scored a try and played his part alongside Wright in setting up one of the tries of the year.

Charlie Cale, another with a great turn of pace, also scored a try in an eye-catching return in the No.8 jersey.

Former Brumby and Wallaby turned coach Stephen Hoiles described it as a “statement game”, and that it was.

Just as pleasing was the role Billy Pollard played, with the hooker finally managing to stay on the park. The regular game time is showing too.

Despite the encouraging performance, interim captain Darcy Swain wasn’t getting carried away with the win.

“Just happy with that effort,” the maligned lock said.


“We’ve got to back it up on the road. Last week, good win. It wouldn’t have met much if we just came out here and got it handed to us, so I’m happy with that.”

Beating Moana Pasifika is one thing, the Reds are another. But Stephen Larkham will have been pleased with his side’s attack, which finally got going after a clunky start to the year.

The strong showing from the forward pack helped, but Lolesio played his part too. As did Tamati Tua, who straightened the line of attack and managed to get the Brumbies front foot ball.

It allowed Wright to hold the ball in two hands and play what was in front of him.

No other time was that the case when Wright put the ball on the toe and found Toole out wide inside his 22 metre line. It finished with Tua scoring under the posts.

The one area of the Brumbies’ performance that will keep Larkham up at night is the side’s defence, which once again leaked three tries and looked particularly brittle inside their attacking zone.