Brumbies vs Moana Pasifika highlights, scores, match report, video
The ACT Brumbies survived a scare from a fiery Moana Pasifika side to maintain their unbeaten Super Rugby Pacific record with a blistering 62-36 win at Canberra.
The aptly named Miracle Fai’ilagi – spotted at the World Rugby Pacific combined in Samoa last year – set the tone from the second minute with a galloping interception try on Saturday.
And winless Moana didn’t keep throwing punches in search of a major upset at GIO Stadium, even beating the Brumbies at their own game with a well-worked rolling maul try.
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But Brumbies manager Stephen Larkham was able to rely on a high-quality bench to pull away late in the second half, highlighted by Ben O’Donnell’s superb first try which was set up by fellow former Australian rugby sevens star Corey Toole.
“Quickest man, pretty much, in the competition,” Nine and Stan Sport commentator Morgan Turinui said of breakout winger Toole.
Ollie Sapsford – who moved to outside center after Len Ikitau’s late withdrawal – was also impressive for the Brumbies, who moved back into second place in the standings behind the equally unbeaten Chiefs.
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Next up for the Brumbies is a tantalizing date with defending champion Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.
The Crusaders, now 2-2, returned to form with a gutsy 34-28 win over the Blues on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s final at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The Brumbies will need to heal some serious bumps and bruises first.
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“That’s a big score, but damn Moana Pasifika pushed this Brumbies team in every aspect,” said former ACT and Wallabies lock Justin Harrison.
“The score doesn’t really reflect what they put in.”
It was also an emotional return to Canberra for Brumbies legend Christian Lealiifano, who is now captain of Moana.
“We came to Canberra with big ambitions mate, and 36 points you think you’re about to win a contest,” Lealiifano told Turinui.
“I think just the physical battle, we lost that tonight and that was disappointing for us man. It’s in our DNA to play physically and the Brumbies really matched us and kind of overtook us in that space.”
Moana’s next game is against the Hurricanes at Mt Smart Stadium next Saturday.
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