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Luckless Brumbies rue refereeing howler, missed opportunities

Date

Chris Dutton

Bulls 36 Brumbies 34

Flying start ... Brumbies winger Henry Speight scored a try in the 10th minute.

Flying start ... Brumbies winger Henry Speight scored a try in the 10th minute. Photo: AFP

PRETORIA: The Brumbies missed out on securing a historic victory but skipper Ben Mowen is adamant his team proved it belongs at the top of the Australian conference.

MATCH STATS

The Brumbies went within two points of causing the biggest upset of the season on Saturday when they launched a late fightback against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

But a controversial refereeing decision and missed opportunities consigned them to a 36-34 loss and ended their dream of becoming the first Australian team to win in Pretoria since 2006. It wasn't a win, but Jake White's young side left Pretoria with two bonus points to reclaim first place on the Australian table.

''We said we will measure ourselves on whether we win or not, not whether we play well,'' Mowen said. ''We didn't get the win, so as a group we're disappointed. The underlying feeling is the belief this team has got from the last month of football is that we're not measuring ourselves [against other teams] any more. We know where we sit and we firmly believe we should be on top.''

The Brumbies' attack was far superior to that of the Bulls. The visitors sliced the three-time champions open in the first half with brilliant set plays leading to tries for Henry Speight and Jesse Mogg. But ill-discipline in their half gave Bulls sharpshooter Morne Steyn a chance to boot his side to a lead.

Constant penalties and errors halted the Brumbies' momentum in the second half. At one stage the penalty count was 8-2 against the Brumbies. And it was a controversial decision from referee Marius Jonker that put the result beyond the Brumbies' reach.

With the Bulls in front 25-13, Steyn knocked the ball on in his half and every player on the field stopped. Steyn turned away, but breakaway CJ Stander picked up the loose ball and raced 60 metres to score. Publicly the Brumbies have accepted the decision, but privately they are fuming Jonker allowed play to continue despite Steyn clearly losing the ball forward.

White said it was an ''expensive lesson'' for his side after they expected Jonker to stop play. They regrouped to score three tries in the last 11 minutes, but in the end they were their own worst enemy.

Christian Lealiifano missed two conversions and a penalty and Speight dropped the ball over the line in the last 10 minutes.

''You can look back and say, 'Gee we let it slip', but we didn't have the ball for long periods of time,'' White said. ''The players in the change room were a little bit down. A lot of people might have been happy with two points and scoring five tries, but they've got a deflated feeling. Not because they could have won, but probably because they didn't give themselves enough chance.''

Their four-try bonus point and losing by less than seven elevated the Brumbies above the Waratahs on the Australian conference. If they can beat the Lions on Friday night, they will return to Canberra satisfied with their points haul in South Africa.

The Brumbies weren't expected to challenge for a place in the finals when White took over the coaching reins of one of the youngest squads in the competition. ''The one thing I was really pleased about was that the plays we have been training with are working," White said. ''It's reminiscent of the Brumbies of old.''

BULLS 36 (Bjorn Basson, CJ Stander tries Morne Steyn con 7 pens drop goal) bt BRUMBIES 34 (Anthony Hegarty, Jesse Mogg, Ian Prior, Andrew Smith, Henry Speight tries Christian Lealiifano 3 cons pen) at Loftus Versfeld. Referee: Marius Jonker.

 

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG -1vs FJI -1 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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