11 Mar RUNNERS COME UNSTUCK IN MELBOURNE
The Brumby Runners have suffered a second defeat, this time at the hands of the Melbourne Rebels ‘A’ side at the Harlequins Rugby Club Field in suburban Ashwood, Melbourne last Friday.
The game kicked off with quite heavy showers that came and went over the course of the afternoon and as Melbourne is known for – it appeared to be a classic ‘4 seasons in one day’ Melbourne weather. The Rebels took advantage of a strong breeze at their back to play most of the opening 40 minutes in the Runners half. Despite the weight of territory and possession the Rebels could only manage two tries and a penalty goal right on the half time siren to going in leading 0-15.
The second half started promisingly enough with the Runners scoring after just 2 minutes through skipper Bayley Kuenzle. That joy was short-lived as the Rebels again took control and capitalised on growing Runners errors and crossed again with the Runners guilty of pushed passes and errors at set pieces. When the Runners did get things right, they looked promising and dangerous however continuity was a problem for the entire 80 minutes. The Runners did score 2 late tries through Whites centre Guy Porter and hooker Bill Pollard, but the Rebels always seemed to have the Runners measure and ran out eventual victors 17-28, albeit 3 tries apiece.
The Whites representative contingent acquitted themselves well with starters Nick Frost getting through a solid 80 minutes, try-scoring Porter played 70 minutes but had only limited opportunities out wide whilst young flanker Zeph Tuinona was busy for his 60 minutes on the side of the scrum before succumbing to an elbow injury that may seem him off the paddock for a week or 2. Coming off the bench, youngsters Fred Kaihea, Zane Marolt and Davea Teoteo all made solid contributions and certainly didn’t lose anything up against a squad brimming with contracted Super Rugby players.
The Runners final official game for the season will be on Friday 20th March at the Hanging Rock Complex Bateman’s Bay with kick-off in the middle of the afternoon against the Waratahs ‘A’. Following that, the Brumbies will be undertaking a number of junior clinics at the Bay and Broulee for the growing junior player and supporter base and then a coaching clinic by Brumbies coaching staff not travelling with the Super Rugby squad to Auckland on the Saturday. The Runners team won’t be finalised until the availability of Brumbies squad members is known following this weekend’s clash at home to the Waratahs on Sunday afternoon.