Rugby Union

Brumbies pay respects to Roff family

The ACT Brumbies wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Jake Roff, who died of brain cancer last Sunday. Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham took time out from getting the team ready for the Melbourne Rebels clash to go to Roff's funeral, along with a host of former Brumbies and Wallabies, at Lismore on Friday. Roff, a singer-songwriter, was just 41. He played rugby for the ACT Kookaburras with his brother Joe Roff and Larkham. "I played with Jake and saw him every year," Larkham said. "The Roffs touched everyone in Canberra, it's not just the rugby. It's the Canberra community as well." While he didn't play for the Wallabies like his brother Joe, Jake did write a poem about them, in conjunction with Rupert McCall. They released I'm a Wallaby, which became Sydney ABC's official anthem for the 2003 World Cup held in Australia. McCall took to Facebook to pay tribute to his mate: "To my comrade, my collaborator, my mate ... travel safely Roffy." Brumbies captain Stephen Moore said the team had wanted to honour Roff's memory by wearing the armbands. "Joe Roff is one of the greatest Brumbies and Wallabies ever and we wanted to pay our respects for his family and their loss," he said.

Finegan still the best

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham will have to wait another week to equal Owen Finegan's Super Rugby try-scoring record. Finegan racked up 29 tries during his career to be the leading forward try scorer in the competition. Higginbotham remains just one away from equalling the record. Even if he does level up, he'll still have a long way to match Finegan's achievements in a glittering career that included two Super Rugby titles and more than 50 caps for his country. 

Passion or acoustics?

Are Rebels fans more passionate than Brumbies' fans or do they simply have better acoustics? There mightn't have been many at AAMI Park, but they sure make a lot of noise - especially when they felt their Rebels were getting harshly treated at the hands of the officials. Maybe if/when the ACT government builds a new rectangular stadium, it will hopefully help trap in the noise like the rooves of the stands at AAMI Park seem to do. Given the proposed Civic stadium will be enclosed, it will hopefully work twofold - keeping the Canberra winter out and Brumbies passion in.

Brumbies' desperate defence

The Brumbies earned this win the hard way - without the ball. Time and time again they repelled a Rebels side that was enjoying a majority of possession - above 60 per cent for the whole match. Sam Carter, Ita Vaea and Christian Lealiifano all produced tackles when the Rebels appeared to have broken their line. Scott Fardy also has to be the biggest pest when the opposition has a rolling maul. His ability to be a nuisance and get the ball back is world class.

Lealiifano joins rare company

Stirling Mortlock, Joe Roff and now Christian Lealiifano. The Brumbies superboot has joined them as the third player for the province to bring up 500 Super Rugby points. And he looks to have a lot more points in him. The 27-year-old has returned to the form that saw him become the Wallabies' kicker, winning matches after the siren for Australia with high-pressure kicks.