Brumbies go down in Canberra nailbiter

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies have lost a Canberra thriller, conceding a try after the bell in a 27-22  loss to the Sharks.

The match continued a run of Canberra Stadium nailbiters between the two teams, their seventh straight decided by less than a converted try.

Leading 15-3 by 31 minutes in, the Brumbies conceded 19 unanswered points, including four penalties as their quick-fire start fizzled out, before a 69th-minute Tevita Kuridrani try looked like pulling them from the jaws of defeat.

A perfectly-placed kick from replacement No.10 Isaac Thompson looked like setting the Brumbies up for a rolling maul special, but the home side made two crucial lineout errors as the clock ticked down.

Scores were level at the final siren, but a crucial turnover gave Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am the winning try on the final play.

Henry Speight notched the opening try. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe night started in perfect fashion for the Brumbies with a Henry Speight try coming from a surprise James Dargaville lineout throw, with a slick attacking chain in between creating the first score.

Their dominance didn’t last long, with the Sharks holding the majority of the possession and winger Lwazi Mvovo denied a try and try assist twice in as many minutes.

The first was a desperate defensive effort from the Brumbies on the speedster that put him into touch, the second a knock forward, though the latter gave Pat Lambie the Sharks’ first points.

Camped in the Sharks’ 22, the Brumbies relied on their lineout to generate attack, with three kicks to touch eventually leading to a successful Josh Mann-Rea rolling maul try in the 24th minute.

Veteran flanker Scott Fardy showed that his end-of-season departure to Leinster was no distraction. He was a force at the breakdown, while young scrumhalf Joe Powell continued to step up in the absence of Tomas Cubelli.

That run of 22 unanswered Sharks points yanked the momentum back in favour of the visitors, with a try to Tendai Mtawarira and a Pat Lambie penalty kick-starting the comeback

Lambie put the Sharks in the lead for the first time in the 44th minute and things unravelled further for the Brumbies with Kyle Godwin sent to the bin in the 52nd minute.

Neither side was able to control the entire match. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyTwo missed chances at goal as the Sharks opted for points deep in Brumbies territory let the home side off the hook but the Brumbies’ ill-discipline gave Lambie the arsenal to stretch the lead to seven points, with 15 minutes left.

Kuridrani steamrolled through a gap to even scores up with 11 minutes left and the home side looked to have found their mojo just in the nick of time.

Am's post-full-time try snuffed out that chance and the Brumbies' prospects of their first 2017 win.

Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter lamented his side's missed chances after the game.

"We had our opportunities in those last 10 minutes but we weren't good enough to capitalise on that," he told FOX SPORTS post-match

"It's tough losing like that but full credit to the Sharks."

The Brumbies take on the Force in Canberra next Friday night in their first Australian derby.

RESULT

BRUMBIES 22

Tries: Speight, Mann-Rea, Kuridrani

Cons: Hawera, Thompson

Pens: Hawera

Yellow Card: Godwin (52')

SHARKS 27

Tries: Mtawarira, Am

Cons: Lambie

Pens: Lambie 5

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