Brumbies vs Crusaders: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Brumbies blew countless opportunities to return to the winners circle in their loss to the Crusaders.

Here's what we learned from the 21-8 defeat.

1. Rugby nous no where to be seen

Rugby smarts cost the Brumbies this match. The Crusaders made uncharacteristic handling errors in their own 22, gave away seven straight penalties and had two players sent to the bin and ACT could not capitalise. Taking a lineout rather than packing down against a seven man scrum, going to the blindside where Henry Speight met three Crusaders defenders rather than exploiting an overlap and countless wayward passes will have coach Dan McKellar tearing his hair out. This was a match the Brumbies could have, should have and would have won on another night.

2. Speight's sizzling return to form

Henry Speight was one of the Brumbies' best. Photo: Getty ImagesHenry Speight was without question ACT's most dangerous threat with ball in hand. He busted six tackles, made 69 metres and broke the line once. It was the Speight of old and he constantly kept the Crusaders on their toes.

3. Naisarani knock

Isi Naisarani limped his way off the field in the 42nd minute after copping a knock in the first term. He never looked comfortable tonight. Here's hoping it's not a serious injury.

4. Pocock presence missed

David Pocock was sorely missed by the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile the Brumbies dominated both possession and territory in the second term, the Crusaders made them work mighty hard at the breakdown. Too many cleanouts were ineffective and it was crystal clear that ACT missed Pocock's presence, as he can mop those errors up on either side of the ball.

5. ACT face uphill Aussie conference climb

The Reds' remarkable upset win over the Lions saw them leapfrog ACT today and the Brumbies remain nine points adrift of the Waratahs atop the Australian Conference. The Tahs also have a game on hand on all of their Australian rivals and have completed their South African tour. The Brumbies have not done so and face a tough run home. Finals football is slipping away.