Brumbies knocked off conference perch after heavy defeat

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies have been knocked off the top of the Australian conference for the first time this season, after a 40-14 loss to the Crusaders.

The ACT franchise slipped below the Rebels after their round nine loss, putting them sixth in their group, below the finals contenders at the halfway point of the season.

The result, their biggest loss at GIO Stadium, leaves their ledger against Kiwi teams at just 1-2, with their last win over trans-Tasman competition coming in round one against the Hurricanes.

Donning camouflage print jerseys for the ANZAC Round match but it seemed to make them easier to catch rather than any more elusive.

In their third home match against a New Zealand side, the Brumbies were found wanting, more often than not the orchestrators of their own downfall with simple errors littered throughout.

Hulking Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo was the spark for his side early, with only a Joe Tomane tackle stopping him from scoring in the opening three minutes, before he added a try and an assist to his first half tally.

Nadolo converted the Crusaders’ early territory into points six minutes in, with the hulking winger crashing over, before a freakish offload in the 18th minute set up an Israel Dagg try.

Brumbies winger Robbie Coleman replied four minutes later, finishing off a string of attacking passes to dot down in the corner.

A powerful turnover to Jone Macilai-Tori put the Brumbies on the back foot once again, with only themselves to blame, symptomatic of the way their afternoon played out.

A fourth Crusaders try, to hooker Cody Taylor, off a rolling maul put them in bonus point territory in just 28 minutes.

Winger Joe Tomane kicked off the second half perfectly  with a try in  the 46th minute off a Brumbies lineout.

A second try to Taylor snuffed out any optimism and replacement flyhalf Marty McKenzie iced the game with a 65th minute try.

Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore exited the match early with  calf issue but dismissed serious concerns after the match, while Joe Tomane was limping on the sidelines after coming off in the final stages.

Brumbies 14

(Tries: Coleman, Tomane Cons: Lealiifano 2)

Crusaders 40

(Tries: Taylor 2, Nadolo, Macilai-Tori, Dagg, McKenzie Cons: Mo’unga 4 )