SCONE 20 INVERELL 17
SCONE resisted a late charge from Inverell to hold on for a three-point win at Scone on Saturday and cement its spot in the top three.
After leading by 13-4 at half-time the Brumbies had some nervous moments as the Highlanders whittled away their advantage.
But they couldn’t quite bridge the gap with the Brumbies sneaking home 20-17.
“It was fantastic for the guys to ground that kind of win out,” Brumbies co-coach Duncan Pinfold said.
“They’ll get a lot from that.”
The Highlanders really came at them hard in the second half.
“As we thought, we had to fight for 80 minutes,” he said.
“The last 10 minutes I was very nervous. They were coming home strong.”
They just couldn’t kick to save themselves.
“We missed three from in front,” Highlanders coach Scott Bremner said.
He counted up they probably missed out on 10 points, and thought that was the difference in the end.
“We were equal in attack and equal in defence,” Bremner said.
The Brumbies did what they said they set out to do.
“We took the points whenever we were down there,” Pinfold said.
That was what they were aiming to do, and a lot of the time they got them early in their ventures into the Highlanders half.
“It was a very simple game plan on our part,” he said.
But it worked well.
They backed it up with some strong defence.
“Our defence was outstanding again,” Pinfold said.
“We held them out on our line for quite a period of time.”
They were running into the wind in the first half so to be in front by as much as they were was a bonus, but they weren’t able to capitalise as much as he would have liked on having the wind behind them in the second half.
Part of the reason for that was their lack of fitness.
Another reason was the Highlanders improved performance.
Bremner was happy with the way they played but understandably disappointed with the result.
It was as the scoreline suggested a tight tussle with defence a real feature.
“Defence was the winner on the day,” Bremner said.
“Both backlines nullified each other with some brilliant defence.”
There was plenty of starch in the forwards’ defence as well.
They had the advantage of running down the slope in the second half, which Bremner thought was probably the difference between the halves for them.
Half-back Jack Siaki Pulu Maea was a constant threat all day and was judged the best on ground.
“He was really good off the line and darting in attack,” Bremner said.
New Scottish prop Graham Montgomery and second rower Tom Apthorpe rounded out the points while for the Brumbies Murray Wilkinson and Dale Robinson were standouts.