Rugby is back with the domestic competition kicking off on Friday Night @ Suncorp Stadium. Reds Vs Waratahs, the old rivalry and what a match it was, living up to expectations and giving rugby fans something to smile about, finally!
The takeaways from two super competitive games over the weekend are that there is a lot of young talent in Australian rugby to get us very excited.
It started in the 6th minute of Friday's match, Reds skipper Liam Wright crossing the line early to give Queensland the lead. Wright, 22 years of age, moved to the blindside of the scrum by coach Brad Thorn to make way for arguably one of the brightest talents in Australian rugby, Fraser McReight, who played in his preferred 7 jersey. There's two right there to take us forward to the next World Cup. But what about that sneaky little halfback that Phil Kearns loves, Tate McDermott, catching the Waratahs off guard for a five pointer, or perhaps it might be someone like a Hunter Paisami, did you see his hit on James Ramm? Didn't miss him. That's what gave the Reds field position for the McDermott try.
19-13 at halftime probably flattered the Waratahs but the Jack Maddocks angled run just after half-time for a try under the sticks gave the Waratahs the lead, jeez, that was nice. Despite the Waratahs taking the lead, you always got the feeling the Reds were in control of the match, a second half try to Harry Wilson, enough has already been said about how good that bloke is, put the Reds in front and it was left to James O'Connor to ice the game with two clutch penalty kicks. O'Connor didn't have the best night with the boot in general play, but kept his cool to give the Reds a 6-point win.
Another storyline from the game, Taniela Tupou copped a yellow card for a late 'hit'. It was one of the softest yellow cards you'll ever see. He got done for a second offence, I doubt either actually warranted a penalty from referee Nic Berry, he should know better.
Saturday Night's match between the Brumbies and Rebels seemed to be going according to the pre-game script. Brumbies up 19-6 at the half on the back of a crafty 3rd minute try from set piece to Andy Muirhead and the Brumbies maul wreaking havoc with the Rebels defense. The Brumbies then moved further in front just after half-time, classy playmaker Noah Lolesio breaking through the Rebels line and setting up Tom Wright for a try in the corner, the Brumbies looked home.
But the Rebels fought, they fought hard. They gave the Brumbies some of their own medicine, Hooker Jordan Uelese crossing on the back of a Melbourne maul before Dane Haylett-Petty went over untouched, Melbourne looked a real chance. But how would the game be decided? The Brumbies maul. Of course it was. Will Miller this time, the Brumbies home by 8 points, but plenty to be encouraged about for both teams.
Some seriously impressive young talent on display, with more to come this week as we get to see the Western Force back in the comp. The 2023 Rugby World Cup is France, let's hope we're in a COVID-free world, because if so, I am off to Flight Centre to book some tickets, the Wallabies are coming back, you heard it here first!