Brumbies keen to scratch seven-year itch

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s been seven years since the Brumbies last beat the Crusaders, a match so long ago that co-captain Christian Lealiifano barely even remembers it.

Lealiifano played in the 2009 win but had to be reminded of the fact on Tuesday.

“Thought I’d never beaten them,” he laughed.

“One game out of 10 years is pretty poor.”

This year there will be a vastly different Crusaders outfit coming to Canberra this year, without linchpins Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

That hasn’t made them much less of a threat, having won their past six games heading into the Brumbies clash.

Lealiifano hasn’t been surprised by the Crusaders’ ability to regenerate.

“I think they're the best New Zealand franchise, they’ve  won the most championships and keep breeding good depth,” he said.

“When they lost Richie and Dan Carter everyone thought they’d drop a bit but they’ve gone to another gear.

“We’ve spoken about how good they've been. Their rugby program second to none.

“They keep producing good talent and they're playing really well.”

The Brumbies have split their matches against New Zealand franchises this season but it was the loss to the Chiefs that Lealiifano said would be more indicative of what they would face on Sunday.

“They’re quite similar to the Chiefs, I think the Crusaders are really expansive as well and can punish you from anywhere on the field and for any mistakes you make.”

Fullback Aidan Toua had one of his best performances for his new franchise last weekend and said this could be the year for the Brumbies to snap their streak, after ending a 14-year losing streak at Allianz last weekend.

“We’ve broken a few hoodoos through the year,” he said.

“Obviously the last few years things have gone the Crusaders’ way but I haven't been a part of those teams so to me it’s just another game against the Crusaders.”

The Brumbies will don a special ANZAC jersey for the match, with a percentage of proceeds going to Legacy.