Crusaders defeated as Brumbies secure crucial win in Canberra

27 days ago
Brumbies vs Crusaders

The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies have sent the Crusaders packing from GIO Stadium this afternoon with a crucial 31-24 win over the visiting side.

Looking to make an early statement, the Crusaders would get extremely close to an early try as winger Sevu Reece showed off his pace before the effort was disallowed due to a forward pass in the leadup.

After their early scare the Brumbies would then kick into gear and secure a try of their own in the 13th minute after some heavy possession in the Crusaders 22. Flyhalf Noah Lolesio would then beautifully sum up an overlap in the right side with a pinpoint chip kick landing in the lap on Andy Muirhead who was able to bring the ball around for a try. Converted by Lolesio the Brumbies held onto a 7-0 lead after just 14 minutes gone.

Just two minutes after their first effort, the home side would strike again as a midfield shift to the left found its way to flashy fullback Tom Wright who was able to go back-and-forth with winger Ollie Sapsford, before breaking a tackle and strolling in for the sides second try.

In the 29th minute after enjoying plenty of ball in the Brumbies end and a man advantage resulting from Tamati Tua receiving a yellow card, the Crusaders finally found their first try of the match through Johnny McNicholl. Converted by Furgus Burke, the Brumbies would then lead by 5 with 10 minutes remaining in the opening half. Reaffirming their lead before the break, the Brumbies came up with a miraculous play in the 39th minute which gave Wright his second try of the match. Popping the ball back up from the turf after a wayward pass, the ball ended up with Ryan Lonergan who was able to toe the ball onward for Mr. everywhere Tom Wright as the fullback showed off his speed yet again for another five-pointer.

Coming out firing in the second half, Crusaders winger Reece would redeem his disallowed effort in the first half and score a try in the 44th minute of the match. After darting through multiple defenders with some fancy footwork and a handy second conversion from Burke, the Crusaders were back in it at 17-14 with almost an entire half to play.

After a 15 minute grind from both sides the Brumbies would finally be the ones to break the stalemate as from halfway Rob Valentini was delivered a beautiful short ball allowing the number 8 to dart upfield before sending off his backs to the tryline with a pass. As Tom Wight looked certain to score his third, the fullback then gave an unders' pass which still pulled up just metres short of the line. Scrambling to convert Valentini's effort into a try it was the man himself who stood up a couple of phases later, barging his way over the line. Converted by Lolesio, the Brumbies stretched out to a 21-14 lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Getting back within striking range the Crusaders made the most of their limited time in good field position as the visitors snuck away a key pass to Noah Hotham who was able to take the ball and strut through the Brumbies defence for a try in the 68th minute. Converted by Burke once again, the Crusaders faced a 3 point deficit late in the afternoon. Chay Fihaki then took a late opportunity from halfway in the 75th minute for a penalty goal to even the score for the visitors, lining up a nail-biting last 5 minutes for all spectators.

In the 81st minute at locked scores the Brumbies were awarded a penalty try to secure their win after the Crusaders made a key interference late in their own in goal.

The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies 31 (Tries: Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright 2, Rob Valentini; Conversions: Noah Lolesio 2, Penalty Try; Penalty Goals: Noah Lolesio) def Crusaders 24 (Tries: Johnny McNicholl, Sevu Reeve; Conversions: Fergus Burke 3; Penalty Goals: Chay Fihaki)

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