Brumbies blow countless chances, fall to Crusaders

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Brumbies have failed to capitalise on an inordinate amount of second half territory, possession and a two man advantage, squandering several opportunities in a 21-8 loss to the Crusaders.

The difference between these two sides was not skill, nor set piece play.

It was game management and rugby smarts.

When Chance Peni was sent to the bin in the 20th minute the Crusaders pinpointed a weakness on the right edge and capitalised, scoring a pair of tries through Manasa Mataele.

When the Brumbies had seven straight penalties awarded in their favour and at one point, an eight minute span in the second half where they had a two man advantage, they squandered the advantage.

Isi Naisarani and the Brumbies couldn't get past the Brumbies. Photo: Getty ImagesThey did not score one point despite some uncharacteristic Crusaders errors and ill-discipline essentially inviting them to do so.

It was agonising viewing for Brumbies fans, who went home empty handed for the third straight week despite having every possible opportunity to return to the winners circle.

The home side couldn't have asked for a better start, a superb set play which saw Joe Powell wrap around the back of Scott Sio for a second touch before flinging it wide to Henry Speight enough to put the Fijian flyer away for a third minute try.

It took the Crusaders 13 minutes to get going but they eventually responded with a set piece try of their own, Seta Tamanivalu busting a Chance Peni tackle before flicking a brilliant no look pass to Tim Bateman, who slid over the line.

Peni's night got worse in the 20th minute, sin binned for a high shot on Israel Dagg and in the 10 minutes that he was off, the Crusaders pounced.Scott Barrett was sent to the bin in the second term. Photo: Getty ImagesTwo mighty soft tries to Mataele - who came on for the concussed Dagg - opened up a 21-5 lead which turned into a 21-8 half time lead after Wharenui Hawera turned pressure into points with a simple shot at goal.

The second half was a very tough watch.

The Crusaders conceded seven straight penalties - the large majority of those in their own 22 - and had both Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett sent to the bin but the Brumbies could not narrow the gap.

ACT turned down six opportunities to kick for goal but played straight into the hands of the visitors with some ill advised attacking raids, failing to take advantage of referee Jaco Peyper blowing the pea out of the whistle for repeated Crusaders infringements.

There will be parts of this match that coach Dan McKellar will be pleased with but they should have snapped the trans-Tasman streak and didn't have the smarts to do so.

RESULT

Brumbies 8

Tries: Speight

Cons:

Pens:

Crusaders 21

Tries: Bateman, Mataele 2

Cons: Delany 3

Pens: