The Brumbies’ winless streak against the Crusaders has stretched to seven, after a 17-13 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Crusaders pressured the Brumbies defence from the outset and it took less than five minutes for winger Seta Tamanivalu to convert that pressure into an early lead.
Rookie Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera battled to find his feet early in the piece, as the ACT side’s in-field kicks failed to hit their marks.
As the first half ticked on, the Brumbies’ defence was doing all the hard work and that work became all the harder when winger James Dargaville was yellow-carded in the 24th minute.
Dargaville was sent to the bin after a collision with Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg, where the youngster was considered not in a position to catch the ball.
Dagg was immense for the Crusaders and it was only a matter of time before he created a scoring opportunity, as number eight Whetu Douglas scored in the 34th minute.
The Brumbies put the heat on the Crusaders with their first try in the 42nd minute, a slick attacking chain putting man mountain Rory Arnold over in the corner, narrowing the gap to two points.
Crusaders flanker Peter Samu finished off a pushover try and made it a seven-point advantage, though the Brumbies didn’t give up the fight.
A Hawera penalty made the difference four points with 12 minutes left and though the Crusaders held the upperhand, the Brumbies continued to play with their desperation.
Neither side could crack the scoreboard in that final 10 minutes, as the Crusaders held on for
"We always knew it was going to be tough over here," Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter told SkySports post-match.
Carter praised his side's defence and maintained an optimistic outlook ahead of their round two clash.
"It's something we pride ourselves on training it hard over the last three months. We hung in there for the 80 but just couldn't get over the line." - Sam Carter
The result leaves the Brumbies winless in Christchurch since 2000 and against the Crusaders at any venue since 2009.
Tries: Tamanivalu, Douglas, Samu
Pens: Hawera 2
Yellow cards: Dargaville