Queensland have signed off Super Round with a record victory over the Western Force, capping a positive weekend for Australian teams.
- The Reds recorded their biggest-ever Super Rugby victory over the Western Force, scoring 71 points
- The Brumbies’ win over the Blues was the first win from an Australian team over a New Zealand opponent this season
- The Brumbies are undefeated after two rounds
With all 12 Super Rugby Pacific sides playing in Melbourne over three days, the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies all left as winners while the Rebels had a narrow loss to the Hurricanes.
After a disappointing round one loss to the Chiefs, the Reds started their Sunday-afternoon clash with a bang and never looked back.
They scored 10 tries to three to bank a crushing 71-20 win — their biggest score ever in Super Rugby.
Queensland looked to have scored after 30 seconds thanks to a 30-metre break by Jordan Petaia, with the silky fullback gliding through the defence and off-loading to Josh Flook: however, the centre put his foot on the sideline.
Queensland fans did not have to wait long to celebrate, with two tries scored by the six-minute mark, with lock Ryan Smith first across the tryline.
A minute later, Petaia showed off his array of skills, following up his own thumping kicking down-field and collecting the ball to touch down for a try of his own to a 14-0 lead.
The Force, who were round one winners over Melbourne, hit back when winger Zach Kibirige got on the outside of his opposite Suliasi Vunivalu.
While they got on the board again through ex-Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a, the Reds pushed the scoreline out to 29-13 by half-time and looked in full control.
With Wallabies coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands, No.8 Harry Wilson impressed while Test playmaker James O’Connor looked sharp in his first run of the season.
The second half was one to forget for new Force coach Simon Cron with the Reds piling on the misery, the men from Perth not helped by losing flanker Ollie Callan to a red card for a high tackle.
Among the tryscorers, Vunivalu, who made a name for himself on the same ground as a Melbourne Storm NRL player, intercepted a pass and ran 80m to score.
While he managed to touch down, he pulled up just before line, sparking fears he had re-injured his hamstring.
But it appeared to be only a cramp, with the World Cup hopeful playing on.
With the Force down to 13 men, also losing Jackson Pugh to a yellow card for the final minutes, Flook finished with two tries as did winger Felipe Daugunu.
Brumbies secure statement win over Blues
The ACT Brumbies have shown they are not to be messed with this Super Rugby Pacific season after beating the Blues 25-20 in Melbourne.
Avenging their 2022 semifinal defeat to the New Zealand heavyweights, the Brumbies never trailed in the Super-Round encounter but were seriously tested by the Blues, digging deep to grind out the win with poise in the second half.
It was a statement win that firmed up the Brumbies’ case as one of the competition’s top sides, scored against a highly-fancied Blues outfit coming off a 40-point win from round one.
It is the first win from an Australian team over a New Zealand opponent this season, although the competition is only two rounds old.
Now holding a 2-0 win-loss record, the Brumbies relied on their set-piece dominance to control proceedings and had the Blues on the back foot early, winning a lop-sided penalty count 16-8.
The wild encounter brought 45 points in the first half but somehow none in the second, as proceedings tightened up drastically with neither outfit threatening the goal line.
The ACT’s rolling maul fired on all cylinders and produced two tries in the first half, with the first — a penalty try — leaving Blues prop James Lay in the sin-bin.
He was the second Blues player yellow-carded, but the two-man disadvantage did little to stop them grinding their way into the match, scoring through Ricki Riccitelli and later via a powerful run from Tom Robinson.
ACT winger Andy Muirhead also crossed, capitalising on slick backline passing after they had again camped on the Blues’ line.
The Brumbies could have led by more than the 25-20 scoreline at half-time after controlling the match for long periods, but they were plagued by defensive lapses and sub-standard ball security.
The Blues had the better of the second half but rarely threatened their opponent’s stubborn defensive line.
Wallabies duo Nic White and Noah Lolesio entered the contest for the final 30 minutes and helped close out the win, although starting halves Jack Debreczeni and Ryan Lonergan were again impressive.
Skipper Allan Alaalatoa left the match inside the first 10 minutes with a head knock and did not return.