Brumbies relegated to first home loss

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies have some ground to make up in their bid for a Super Rugby title after losing to the Chiefs, 48-23.

The ACT franchise held the favouritism tag in preseason but their defence was exposed against the Chiefs, as the Kiwis ran in six tries to two for their first win in Canberra since 2008.

The Brumbies showed confidence early, looking to run the ball with even flanker Scott Fardy throwing a dummy in a strong attacking run and had the early lead.

Though they looked for metres in attack, the Brumbies took early points over set piece, giving Christian Lealiifano two chances in the opening 10 minutes.

It was the visitors who snagged the first try of the game, with lock Taleni Seu snatching a turnover, leaving the Brumbies defence reeling as Toni Pulu ran in for the five-pointer in the 16th minute.

Another punishing counter-attack from the Chiefs, beginning with in-form fullback Damian McKenzie, gave winger James Lowe the Chiefs’ second in the 29th minute.

When the Brumbies had the chance to capitalise on their strength they did, with prop Scott Sio scoring a 36th minute try off the back of a five-metre scrum and a 54th minute Fardy try off a lineout.

Blindside Tom Sanders made the Brumbies pay once again, with a 40th minute try after a perfectly timed offload from Lowe on the left touch line.

Poor discipline after half-time handed six points to the visitors in as many minutes after the break.

Fardy’s score brought the margin back to six before the sides traded penalties, but a perfectly weighted cross-field kick from Aaron Cruden gave Lowe his second.

Two minutes later, Chiefs halfback Brad Weber put the Chiefs in bonus point territory and an 79th minute five-pointer to Damian McKenzie was the cherry on top.

Brumbies openside David Pocock put in another superhuman performance, winning five turnovers before the break and six for the game.

The Brumbies will be sweating on the fitness of  backrower Ita Vaea, who came off in the 19th minute with a foot injury

After three weeks on the road, the Brumbies have their first bye of the season this week, before travelling to Sydney for a clash with the Waratahs in a fortnight.

Brumbies 23 (Tries: Sio pens Lealiifano 3 Cons: Lealiifano 2)

Chiefs 48 (Tries: Lowe 2, Pulu, Weber, Sanders, McKenzie  Pens: McKenzie 4, Con: McKenzie 3)