The Brumbies promised to deliver a new brand of rugby this season and, if Friday night’s performance was anything to go by, they are on target to deliver.
The 31-25 victory over the much-hyped Waratahs was even more remarkable given Steve Larkham’s selection gamble and the late loss of Lachie Lonergan with COVID-19.
Larkham opted to start with Wallabies Nick White, Noah Lolesio and James Slipper on the bench. Instead, Ryan Lonergan, Jack Debreczeni and Blake Schoupp ran on.
The gamble more than paid off with Lonergan and Debreczeni implementing the Brumbies’ new attacking game plan to perfection.
Rob Valetini, who didn’t play a trial game, didn’t stop running all night and was one of the Brumbies’ best.
After a few anxious moments early in the scrums, Schoupp more than justified his selection in the starting line-up.
And Tom Wright finally got his opportunity at fullback with Tom Banks heading to Japan.
Wright was arguably the best player on the field on Friday night. He was everywhere in attack, combining well with wingers Corey Toole and Andy Muirhead.
Toole, who made his Super Rugby debut in the game against the Waratahs, has the potential to be a superstar.
His ability to beat his man with sheer pace was on display a number of times as he created multiple opportunities.
I thought Rory Scott, Alan Alaalatoa and Nick Frost were terrific physically, with the Waratahs constantly looking to test the Brumbies in this area.
And the entire game was much better to watch as the trial law variations resulted in a far quicker game with little time wasting.
There was so much to like about the Brumbies and the positive mindset of the entire team. This was probably their best performance to start the season in recent years.
They have little time to bask, though, as they prepare to face the Auckland Blues in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues were outstanding in their 60-20 victory over the Highlanders. At one stage, the Blues scored 31 points in 29 minutes.
But the Brumbies will be looking to avenge their loss to the Blues in last year’s Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals.
Sunday’s game in Melbourne could be a precursor to this year’s decider if the first round is anything to go by.