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Brumbies coach Jake White was understandably disappointed after his team fell short 27-22 to the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Final in Hamilton on Saturday night, but was still proud of his young team and all they had achieved in their break through season.
The Brumbies had every chance to claim their first Super Rugby crown since 2004 when they led 22-12 with 20 minutes remaining but made costly errors when the game was on the line.
The turning point of the match probably came when the usually reliable Nic White failed to find touch from a pressure relieving penalty.
And with just minutes left fullback Jesse Mogg also failed to find touch forfeiting the Brumbies last chance to win.
Earlier Clyde Rathbone had also been denied what may have been a match winning try by a desperate Aaron Cruden tackle.
‘‘It was an emotional roller-coaster” said White after the match, “that’s pressure and you can’t replicate that at training.’’
‘‘The only way you learn from it is when you’re put in that situation. Who knows, if Jesse had kicked that ball out with one minute to go on the 22-metre line, maybe the fairytale would have ended differently.’’
However White said there were promising signs for the future and the Brumbies would get better from hard lessons learned.
‘‘We’ll start again, we’ll reflect on what could have, what should have and what may have and we’ll move on,’’ White said. ‘‘I didn’t for one minute think it wasn’t possible ... it starts again from nought. Whatever happens this year is irrelevant. The ride’s not over.’’
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen stopped short of calling the season a “success” but acknowledged the Chiefs were better on the night.
‘‘We prepared all year like this was the week we wanted to end,’’ said Mowen. “There were a couple of moments where we released pressure.”
‘‘We had heaps of running in us but you still have to be able to make decisions under fatigue. There were just a couple of times where we didn’t execute the things we wanted.’’
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!