Scott Sio and Rory Arnold of the Brumbies tackle Stephen Moore of the Reds.
Scott Sio and Rory Arnold of the Brumbies tackle Stephen Moore of the Reds. DEAN LEWINS

'It's embarrassing': Reds humbled by Brumbies

THE Reds' season is in full retreat after a 43-10 crash landing in Canberra on Saturday night when they were haunted by a hot crop of Queensland products transformed into matchwinners by wearing a Brumbies jersey.

Losing in Canberra is nothing new nor is leaving red-faced because the Brumbies have done a far better job of developing quality in players that the Reds sighted first.

The Brumbies overwhelmed the Reds with a five-try, 33-0 landslide in the second half when the visitors did not fire a shot in the make-or-break clash.

Former Gold Coast Breaker Rory Arnold had a mighty hour on the field for the Brumbies and made the Reds' own Wallabies locks Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas look one-dimensional.

Arnold galloped into open space, flipped excellent off-loads and excelled with a workrate the Reds pair couldn't match.

Fullback Aidan Toua sprinted 50m for a superb try to set up the Reds' last win in Canberra in 2014 but on Saturday night he strapped on the jet shoes for the Brumbies to settle the game with another long range strike.

The Reds would have fancied their chances running out after halftime at 10-all but hopes were snuffed out quickly by two tries in 90 seconds from the rampant Brumbies.

James Tuttle of the Reds evades a tackle by Andrew Smith of the Brumbies.
James Tuttle of the Reds evades a tackle by Andrew Smith of the Brumbies. DEAN LEWINS

A Robbie Abel try from a rolling maul was the first nail in the coffin and Toua's long-range scoot made it 24-10 in a twinkling.

Even the Reds' long-trusted scrum was dismantled when the Reds were shunted 10m before former Reds flanker Jarrad Butler dotted down for the try in his 50th game for the Brumbies. Brumbies Test props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa did the damage in the shunt which spat Reds prop Sam Talakai out the side of the scrum.

Reds skipper Stephen Moore was floored by the final, fruitless 40 minutes which means the Reds have now lost their last nine local derby matches against Australian rivals.

"It's embarrassing ... we probably didn't show enough fight (in the second half) which is the most disappointing thing,” Moore told Fox Sports.

Tevita Kuridrani, a former University of Queensland club centre, has an uncanny knack for finding the tryline and his short surge one pass from the ruckbase was typical in the first half.

The Reds had been blown away early on their previous two visits to Canberra in 2015 (47-3) and 2016 (43-24).

Coach Nick Stiles had demanded a big physical opening in a local derby meaning this much and, initially, he got the right attitude.

At the seven-minute mark, the Reds executed a neat back-of-the-lineout play with flanker George Smith off-loading to No 8 Scott Higginbotham.

The platform set up the opportunity for winger Chris Kuridrani to run a fine angle to the tryline for 7-0.

The Reds dive to a 1-6 win loss record and have just six points while the Brumbies' third victory of the season vaulted them to 16 points with a clear break at the top of the Australian Conference.

There was so much at stake for the Reds and so little produced in their scoreless second half when their defence fractured.

The fluency and spark of the Brumbies backline was excellent with halfback Joe Powell, winger Henry Speight and Toua, with 147 running metres, on a roll.

The Reds blooded teenage fly half Hamish Stewart for the final seven minutes.


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