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ACT Brumbies hold off fast-finishing NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby thriller

Brumbies 28 Waratahs 23

Nic White fooled the Waratahs defence to score the opening try.

Nic White fooled the Waratahs defence to score the opening try. Photo: Getty Images

The ACT Brumbies beat the NSW Waratahs in an Australian derby classic on Saturday night, repelling almost 25 minutes of constant NSW attack to secure a pulsating Super Rugby win.

And for proof the ACT-NSW rivalry is alive and strong, the glass window to the Waratahs' coaching box was shattered as the Brumbies held on for a 28-23 win at Canberra Stadium.

Ben Alexander of the Brumbies reacts. Click for more photos

Brumbies vs Waratahs

Round 5, Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and Waratahs. Photo: Stefan Postles

Time
80.00
Team
BRU
Score
28
Team
WAR
Score
23
Brumbies versus Waratahs
View Match Statistics
Players White (14min), Mogg (17min), Kuridrani (53min) Tries 3 Tries 2 Players Hooper (62min), Folau (73min)
Players White 2/3 (66%) Conversions 2 Conversions 2 Players Foley 2/2 (100%)
Players White 3/3 (100%) Penalty goals 3 Penalty goals 3 Players Foley 3/4 (75%)
Players Drop goals 0 Drop goals 0 Players

The door shattered when coach Michael Cheika left the box, leaving in frustration as scrums chewed up crucial playing time.

The Waratahs coaching staff left their box just before the full-time siren, but the cracks in the door were a lasting sign of the frustration of another trip to Canberra.

The Waratahs have won just two games in Canberra in Super Rugby history.

Not happy: a shot from the Waratahs coaches' box after their 28-23 loss to the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.

Not happy: a shot from the Waratahs coaches' box after their 28-23 loss to the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night. Photo: Supplied

On the other side, the Brumbies produced one of the gutsiest performances of the past three seasons to win, despite playing with 14 men for the last 20 minutes of the game.

Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen lauded his team's refusal to give up as the Waratahs launched wave after wave of attack, declaring his side was built on grit, determination and always turning up for each other in defence.

It was an epic battle between the two arch-rivals, built up during the week as the Waratahs' biggest test and fuelled by rumours of a rift between Wallabies players on the two teams.

The only potential sour note for a battered and bruised Brumbies was an injury to star winger Henry Speight.

Speight had scans on Saturday night with fears he has a broken jaw after a collision in the first half.

"That one's right up there. It was important for us to get the four points tonight," Mowen said.

"Chat can go back and forth, but it matters crap. The personal stuff aside, you just want the side to win.

"Nothing matters until the side wins after 80 minutes and we worked bloody hard for it. The guys showed a lot of character.

"But it's round four, it's not a final. It's an important four points for us, but that's where we leave it."

The Waratahs struggled to get into the match until they found their groove deep into the second half.

They were behind by 16 points with 25 minutes to play, but tries to superstar Israel Folau, who beat three defenders and carried another over the line, and Michael Hooper closed the gap in the dying minutes.

But the Brumbies rallied, despite losing Matt Toomua and Ruan Smith to the sin bin at separate times, to hold on with Nic White booting a penalty goal in the last 60 seconds to secure a five-point win.

The Brumbies' defence was outstanding, limiting Folau and the star-studded NSW back line's influence.

They rushed up into the Waratahs' attacking line and shut down back line moves before they started.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika admitted he was frustrated but made it clear the majority of his frustration was directed at the time chewed up by scrums.

The glass door to the Waratahs' coaching box was shattered after the game, reports emerging it was broken when the coaching staff exited.

It was the Waratahs' first loss of the season and the defeat was by no means a devastating blow to their campaign.

"A little disappointed in the end, we didn't get going in the first half. It was very broken," Cheika said.

"I don't think we played poorly, but we just didn't seem to have the flow we needed. Then a couple of things went the wrong way and we found ourselves behind.

"We hung tough in a difficult situation and got ourselves back ... I thought we were a bit unlucky at the end with the way the scrums panned out.

"The Brumbies were living on the edge [at the breakdown] and any time we got flow they fouled. But that's their strategy and fair enough, good on them."

The Brumbies caught the high-flying Waratahs off guard in the first half, scoring superb tries through Nic White and Jesse Mogg.

White snuck off with some smart play from the base of a ruck while Mogg chipped over Folau and won the race to the ball to score the Brumbies' second try.

The Brumbies threw more attack at the Waratahs to start the second half, but had to settle for a Tevita Kuridrani try to extend their lead.

It was the turning point in momentum with the Waratahs controlling most of the play for the rest of the match.

The Brumbies were constantly penalised at the breakdown and lost Toomua and Smith to the sin bin for repeated team infringements.

But every time they looked dead and buried, they mustered together to repel the Waratahs for just long enough to win the game.

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis admitted the NSW set piece let the team down.

"Our intent and contact in the first half wasn't good enough," Dennis said.

"In the first half we didn't play much rugby and we knew we'd get points if we held it, but it was all too late."

ACT BRUMBIES 28 (Nic White, Jesse Mogg, Ben Alexander tries; Nic White 2 conversions, 2 penalties) bt NSW WARATAHS 23 (Michael Hooper, Israel Folau tries; Bernard Foley 3 penalties, 2 conversions) at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night. Referee: Jaco Peyper. Crowd: 17,016.

32 comments so far

  • Allways good seeing the 'sydney sapphires' (aka NSW Warratahs) get smashed. Now, if there were just direct flights between Canberra and Singapore so I didn't have to transit through shitney airport....

    Commenter
    FD
    Location
    Singapore
    Date and time
    March 15, 2014, 10:07PM
    • As a supporter, my first and main priority for the Super Rugby season is for the Brumbies to knock off the Waratahs. The second priority is for the Brumbies to win the grand final. Great work last night boys.

      Commenter
      Flanders
      Date and time
      March 16, 2014, 2:35PM
  • Great brutal game of rugby. The brumbies did all the basics right; set piece, line out, breakdown, scrum, and DEFENCE. The Tahs looked as dangerous as ever in attack but showed they are struggling at set piece, breakdown and defence in the 10 - 12 channel, which was seriously exposed. I think the only answer is Horne to 12 move Beale out the back and have him come in for attack, because there is no way other teams did not pick up on that massive problem.
    I think Matt Touma played himself into a wallabies jersey tonight. Defence wins matches.

    Commenter
    bob
    Date and time
    March 15, 2014, 10:20PM
    • Gritty win, against the odds and the ref. Cheika has absolutely nothing to complain about beyond his own team's performance. A broken window is just juvenile.

      Commenter
      A win's a win
      Date and time
      March 15, 2014, 10:25PM
      • Against the ref?? Good thing Lawrie Fisher was the TMO then.

        Commenter
        Nato
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        March 17, 2014, 12:37PM
    • Im A waratahs fan but have to give it to the brumbies pack who dominated and killed the possession for the Tahs. They effectively neutered the Tahs backs who then did not help themselves by lapsing back into the rushed mistake ridden play of recent years. Well done brumbies and good wake up call for the tahs who started so well but now realise what it wil take to win the local derby let alone figure well in the finals.

      Commenter
      a don
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      March 15, 2014, 10:54PM
      • Superb game and for the first time an applause to a consistent offical. The scrum penalties went both way, with each front row delivering stable and questionable performances. Fair call at the last scrum too.
        And at last the Brumbies have shown the physicality of Australian rugby. Toomua's hits on Foley and Beale were brilliant; Folau proved once again that when the Tahs aren't clicking he simply disappears and lacks involvement (his try was great!); Nic White did not boxkick!; AAC has discovered passing the ball actually benefits the team; Hooper player his heart out again; the game was always going to come down to Mogg's individual performance (beside a few dodgy clearance kicks he did enough); Potgeiter throwing himself into absolute everything! I'd judge the Tahs forward pack on this guy, not Palu!; and finally, Fardy: cannot catch a ball but can sure kick one!
        Interesting how Cheika was not happy with the scrum, however the Tahs did buckle numerous times and failed to hold it strong and level in the tight five. But, Dennis did turn down three easy opportunities for 9 points
        Cannot wait for Tahs v Rebels. Both teams got belted and are coming off losses. Cheika will have the Tahs ravaged at training this week but hoping for a cracker of a game. Again, Brumbies have shown how to shut down the the Tahs flary backline so we shown see a similar style by the Rebels. Let's hope the discipline at the Breakdown and scrums are there to prevent a slow game. Fuglistaller and Higginbotham to unleash with big tackles on the Tahs forwards.

        Commenter
        Mattty
        Date and time
        March 15, 2014, 11:01PM
        • How funny is that.

          Commenter
          DP
          Location
          GC
          Date and time
          March 15, 2014, 11:03PM
          • First away game, first Waratahs loss. Wow, I didn't see that one coming! Life is good and you can get excited when you have easy games in Sydney ;-) Yet the Brumbies won in Perth and Wellington - battle hardened compared to the soft start the 'Tahs have enjoyed.

            NSW can only score a try when the Brumbies are down to 14 men, and this Brumbies side was missing Pocock Auelua, Lealiifano, Tomane, Rathbone, Murphy and Siliva... And lost Speight to a broken jaw in the first half! Despite what NSW management likes to think, Brumbies have the best depth in Australia and our B-Team outmuscled, outsmarted and outenthused this 'much vaunted' NSW team :-)

            Not that it matters because NSW will still bag all the Wallaby jerseys... More for the blue on their shirts than the ability of there players. Yet this depleted Brumbies team answered a few questions tonight: surely Moore proved once and for all he is the best Hooker in Australia, leading a front row that demolished the Tahs when it mattered. Sio is the best young prop in Australia, Mogg schooled Folau, and Toomua monstered Foley and Beale. The Waratahs pack was manshamed... No other way to put it.

            Waratahs still have much to do, but Brumbies look better each game and will welcome back a lot of talent in the next few rounds - particularly Lealiifano and Tomane, who will make a great backline even better :-) Here's hoping they can go one better this season!

            Commenter
            Rooster
            Date and time
            March 15, 2014, 11:13PM
            • Here! Here! The dried flower arrangements couldn't even win against our depleted team with the ref doing his best to keep our numbers down in the second half. We kept marveling at the incredible defence in the Brumbies backline all night, even when we were down to 14. The Tahs forwards at times looked disorganised and uncertain, unlike the Brumbies pack. Manshamed indeed! Long way to go for both teams but a very satisfying victory last night!

              Commenter
              Badger
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              March 16, 2014, 3:47PM

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