Win goes begging for Brumbies

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies are in the midst of their worst losing streak in six seasons, after a 13-6 loss to the Lions on Friday night.

Not since 2011 have the Brumbies lost four matches in a row, with that losing run lasting five matches, but the South Africa 1 conference leaders inflicted yet another defeat on the Canberra side.

The salt in that wound for the Brumbies that they led in almost every area except where it officially counts, leading at half-time, dominating territory and possession and putting themselves within striking distance plenty of times.

In a season where the Lions’ attack has been the most punishing, their Canberra assignment called more on their defence, as the home side dominated possession.

Despite that dominance, though, the Brumbies shot themselves in the foot four times in the opening 25 minutes, with a Wharenui Hawera penalty the only reward for their efforts.

The Lions kept the Brumbies at bay. Photo: Getty ImagesThe return of Kyle Godwin was noticeable early , with the centre orchestrating opportunities in attack in his first match since their last victory, against the Reds.

A Jordan Smiler lineout steal snuffed out a Lions chance but the Brumbies couldn’t make the South African leaders pay despite the statistics leaning their way.

Just that penalty separating the teams at the break, in the Lions’ first scoreless opening half since 2014.

It took until the 51st minute fro the Lions to peg their way back, through an Elton Jantjies penalty.

Where the Brumbies failed to convert their opportunities, the Lions pounced on theirs, with their trademark counterattack leading to a Kwagga Smith try and putting them in front for the first time.

The Lions’ Ill-discipline kept the Brumbies in the game, with a second Hawera penalty narrowing the gap and another infringement put the home side deep into their attacking territory.

Again the Brumbies failed to force the Lions to pay and an Aidan Toua intercept pass nearly spelling another fatal mistake.

Henry Speight puts a fend on a Lions defender in Canberra. Photo: Getty ImagesChance after chance left the Brumbies empty-handed as the clock ticked down, with zippy scrumhalf Joe Powell’s best efforts to find the line coming up short, before a final penalty to Andries Coetzee made the margin seven points.

The Lions’ defence held strong in the ruck as the Brumbies fought to finally break their duck, but the home side couldn’t convert, handing the South Africans their first perfect tour to Australia, with three wins in as many weeks.

Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter lamented their lost opportunities, speaking post-match.

"We just didn't capitalise on our opportunities," he said.

"We're going to have to recover well and just stick to what we're doing .A bit of execution in crucial moments will go a long way."

RESULT

Brumbies 6

Pens: Hawera 2

Lions 13

Tries: Smith

Cons: Jantjies

Pens: Jantjies, Coetzee

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