Rugby Union

BRUMBIES 24 CHEETAHS 23

Brumbies put unsettling week behind them to steal win

JAKE WHITE has declared the ACT Brumbies' coaching saga "finished once and for all" and wants his team's heart-stopping victory yesterday to end the ongoing speculation about his future.

MATCH STATS

Christian Lealiifano of the Brumbies celebrates with team mates after kicking the winning penalty goal.
Christian Lealiifano of the Brumbies celebrates with team mates after kicking the winning penalty goal. Photo: Cameron Spencer

The Brumbies put a week of off-field distractions behind them to score a last-gasp one-point win over the Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium.

A win was the only way the Brumbies could start moving forward after White said he was keen to apply to be England's new coach last week.

He withdrew his interest on Friday and said he was committed to his four-year deal at the Brumbies, but it was Christian Lealiifano's penalty goal after the siren which secured a one-point triumph and ended the drama.

"The most important thing is I want to make sure we can finish it off once and for all," White said.

"This is the Brumbies, we're in the Super Rugby competition, I won't want to hear any more about where I'm going … focus on the rugby, the Brumbies are important, we've won two games and we're at the top of the log. It's dead and buried. That's it. It's only fair on this group of players that we start focusing on them.''

The Brumbies wouldn't have used the speculation surrounding White as an excuse if they had lost the clash against the Cheetahs.

Cheetahs Izak van der Westhuizen and Ryno Benjamin tackle Brumbies number eight Ben Mowen.
Cheetahs Izak van der Westhuizen and Ryno Benjamin tackle Brumbies number eight Ben Mowen. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

But a defeat would have added uncertainty to whether it had disrupted the squad on the eve of the game.

For 75 minutes the Brumbies were in danger of being just the second team to lose to the Cheetahs outside South Africa. But Lealiifano calmly slotted two penalties in the last five minutes to lift his team to victory, with the winning penalty coming after the Brumbies' scrum demolished the Cheetahs.

Returning Wallaby ... Pat McCabe of the Brumbies scores a try.
Returning Wallaby ... Pat McCabe of the Brumbies scores a try. Photo: Getty Images

The win was far from convincing, with the Brumbies struggling to build pressure against one of the worst travelling sides in the competition. However, last year it took the Brumbies two months to win two games. This year it has taken just two weeks.

BRUMBIES 24 (Pat McCabe, Henry Speight tries Christian Lealiifano con 4 pens) bt CHEETAHS 23 (Tewis de Bruyn, Willie Le Roux tries Johan Goosen 2 cons 3 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Keith Brown. Crowd: 12,377.