The Brumbies were left heartbroken in Canberra on Saturday night, after a 27-22 loss to the Sharks.
Here's what we learned from the nail biter.
1. Unravelled by ill-discipline
They had a 12-point lead by the half-hour mark but the Brumbies’ advantage unravelled in front of their eyes as the Sharks took almost every opportunity for points. Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira scored a try but it was their eagerness to opt for the posts and Pat Lambie’s reliable boot that rubbed salt into the Brumbies’ wound. That Lambie missed two of his shots let the Brumbies off the hook but they gave him far too many opportunities, undoing all their hard work early.
2. The Fardy’s not over just yet
He’s announced his imminent departure to Ireland but Scott Fardy was adamant his commitment had not wavered when it came to the 2017 Super Rugby campaign. A second impressive performance proved that on Saturday night, with the blindside flanker in vintage form. He had two turnovers by half-time as the Brumbies were forced to defend hard again. He has started the year among the best in the side, a positive sign for Brumbies fans.
3. Close enough just not good enough
There were no concrete expectations on the Brumbies this season, and two close games against foreign opposition could be seen as a positive with their new-look side still trying to gel. Two games lost by a combined nine points should leave a bitter taste in the Canberra side’s mouth, as they face their first 0-2 start to a year since 1999. With the Force, Reds and Waratahs all on one win, the Brumbies face an already tougher challenge to push for finals.
4. Hookers don’t own the lineout
The Brumbies of recent times have experimented with their lineout structure, but Saturday night’s twist was a hark back to the future. Winger James Dargaville took the throwing duties into the first lineout, hitting Rory Arnold perfectly. A slick attacking chain showed off the Brumbies’ potency in that area, with inside centre Kyle Godwin throwing the final pass for winger Henry Speight to go over. No one expects it to be a permanent fixture, but a bit of variety really spiced up the Brumbies’ life for a moment there.
5. Hard part over for the Sharks
The Sharks have survived their biggest trip of the season and it’s all looking up from here. With the Super Rugby format the way it is, the Sharks’ South African conference is the lucky one to avoid the New Zealand teams this season. With one win and one loss from their Australian tour, they now head back home to go up against the Waratahs next week, their first of three home games in their next five rounds. Don’t be surprised if this win proves the difference when it comes to deciding finals matches.