Brumbies sail past disappointing Reds

16 February 2013 12:42

In a match that never reached great heights at Canberra Stadium, the Brumbies did just enough to force the victory and get their 2013 season off to a flyer thanks largely to Mogg's double that bookended the match.

It didn't take the Reds long to get the scoreboard ticking as Mike Harris blasted a long-range penalty from halfway straight through the middle of the uprights in the second minute after the Brumbies were penalised for offside.

The hosts were fortunate not to find themselves further adrift as a brace of penalties from Harris, both just inside Brumbies territory, fell short.

With the Reds dictating all the early play, the Brumbies finally awoke from their slumber and scored their opening try of the season with their first attack in the ninth minute.

Quick ball from the line-out created space for scrum-half Nic White to grubber through and Mogg outpaced the cover defence to gather the ball on the bounce and crash over for the score.

Christian Lealiifano's conversion attempt lacked the accuracy to add the extras but the Brumbies led 5-3.

Lealiifano should have extended the advantage with a simple penalty from the 22-metre line after the Reds were penalised for being off their feet at a ruck but the normally reliable kicker skewed his effort horribly wide.

Harris finally found his radar in the 26th minute, slotting his second penalty of the match as the Brumbies strayed offside again in midfield.

In a tit-for-tat opening half, it was the Brumbies' turn to retake the lead four minutes before the break. After securing the ball inside the Reds half, the Queenslanders were forced to collapse the maul and White, taking over the kicking duties, duly hammered over the resultant penalty to put his team ahead 8-6.

The scrum-half almost added a mammoth penalty from 53m on the stroke of half-time but his kick didn't have the requisite power - leaving the Brumbies ahead by two at the interval.

Lealiifano continued to have a frustrating evening with his place kicking in the second stanza, shanking his third kick of the match shortly after the restart, this one fading right as it reached the uprights.

With Lealiifano struggling with the boot, the Brumbies turned to Mogg for their next attempt and the full-back made no mistake clattering through his kick to ease the Brumbies 11-6 in front with just under 30 minutes to play.

Fortunately for the Brumbies faithful, Harris was having as much difficulty as Lealiifano with his kicking, once again falling short when presented with a chance from mid-range.

Mogg, meanwhile, continued to lead the way converting his second penalty of the encounter minutes after Harris had failed taking the Brumbies more than a score ahead as the match entered its last quarter.

It was increasingly obvious that the Brumbies had taken control of proceedings as they dominated possession and territory and only poor handling from Mogg prevented a second score as he knocked on when given space in which to move following an incisive burst from replacement Fotu Alelua.

The kicking jinx passed to Mogg next as he missed an attempt from 30m on the angle but, with four minutes to play, the Brumbies finally knocked one over with White applying the finishing touches from close to halfway.

That left the Reds with too much to do and when Quade Cooper tried to force the issue with time running out Mogg pounced to intercept and swept away from the cover to score under the posts and secure the perfect start for the Brumbies.

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