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Brumbies down Reds to make early statement

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brumbies.com.au and James Mortimer     17 Feb 2013     Getty Images

It’s the first victory the Brumbies have had over the Reds since 2011 and leaves Queensland needing to win the return match in Brisbane to retain the Rod Macqueen Cup.

Two tries and two penalties from Mogg went a long way towards burying the Reds, who struggled to compete with the University of Canberra Brumbies rock-solid defence. While the Brumbies attack showed plenty of quality, it was defence which won them the game.

Man of the Match Mogg was outstanding in his 17th professional appearance, kicking with pin-point accuracy for touch and looking dangerous with the ball in hand. He was joined by Peter Kimlin, Stephen Moore and Dan Palmer as key performers.

Brumbies Rugby debutant David Pocock and Clyde Rathbone both had solid performances, with Pocock sealing the match with one of his signature steals with 10 minutes to play. Earning his first Super Rugby and Brumbies cap was Siliva Siliva, who appeared on field at hooker for the final moments of play.

Head Coach Jake White was pleased with the start to the season, particularly keeping a clean sheet against a backline littered with Wallabies.

“They’re a good side, they won the conference last year and for the first half we had to adjust to how hard they are on the ball so we could play our own game,” White said.

“We’ve been working hard and talking about this game for a long time for a number of reasons. One we slacked off last year, two we’re playing the champions and thirdly they have 16 train-on Wallabies. So credit to our team we showed we will be hard to beat at this level.

“Watching the Reds at their last trial matches they scored five tries off pick and drives – we knew we’d have to stand up and stop them at the side of the ruck and I was pleased with the way our forwards stood up today and took them on.”

After the Reds shot to a three point lead off the boot of Mike Harris, the University of Canberra Brumbies were the first to cross the try-line with Mogg diving on a clever grubber kick from scrumhalf Nic White.

With advantage called, White slipped the ball behind the defensive line for Mogg to blitz three would-be tacklers – including Digby Ioane – to score the Brumbies first try of 2013. The kick was waved away but the Brumbies were out to a two-point lead after 10 minutes of play.

Neither goal kicker was on early in the match, with Lealiifano and Harris both missing two shots before the 20 minute mark. But eventually Harris would nudge the Reds ahead again with another long range effort after three Brumbies players were nabbed for being in front of the kicker.

Breaks from Digby Ioane and Liam Gill had Brumbies fans feeling nervous before half time, but when White managed to pin the Reds deep in their own half with another of his pin-point kicks, the momentum had swung in the home side’s favour.

15 minutes of quality field position followed for the Brumbies, with White eventually making the most of the advantage to add another three points. He had another shot minutes later, but it was waved away for the Brumbies to lead 8-6 at half-time.

The second half began and finished with neither side giving anything in defence. In a physical half of rugby, Sam Carter (blood) and Henry Speight (ribs) both left the field hurt while the Brumbies dished out some heavy punishment of their own, walloping any Red brave enough to take on the line.

More penalties to White and Mogg gave the Brumbies breathing space at 17-6, but the game was put beyond doubt in the final seconds when Mogg grabbed an intercept and darted over the line to complete his brace.

The extras were added by Ian Prior, moving the fulltime score out to 24-6, Brumbies holding advantage.