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Waratahs' win tempered by loss of Dave Dennis as Brumbies' season staggers

The Waratahs celebrate a try by Bernard Foley Click for more photos

Super Rugby: Waratahs v Brumbies

The Waratahs take on the UC Brumbies at ANZ Stadium Photo: Mark Nolan

It is a tale of injuries that will have huge effects for Australia's two Super Rugby contenders.

But while the injury-hit ACT Brumbies struggle to get troops on the field, the NSW Waratahs will use skipper Dave Dennis' heartbreaking knee injury as inspiration for their title bid.

Dennis fell to the ground in agony just minutes before half-time with a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Waratahs' 39-8 win against the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The five-tries-to-one romp was partly soured by the pain on Dennis' face as he stares at the prospect of a third, and potentially career-threatening, knee reconstruction.

Dennis had back-to-back knee reconstructions in 2007 and 2008. But the latest setback could be the breaking point for his career. He has a year left on his contract, but it will take almost that long for him to recover from another knee reconstruction.

The Waratahs play the Otago Highlanders at Allianz Stadium on Sunday and Queensland Reds in the last game of the regular season. Two wins will guarantee a top-two finish, a financial boost, a home final and a chance to win the title.

"It's horrible, 'Denno' has been our leader, you never like to see that and we put it out there for Denno in the second half," stand-in NSW captain Michael Hooper said.

"We're very proud to go the 80 minutes and keep putting points on. It's a feature that has come into our game this year and something we need to keep if we want to go into the finals."

What a difference a couple of months make. When the Waratahs lost to the Brumbies in Canberra, their critics came out and the headlines were about a broken glass door in the NSW coaches box.

But Michael Cheika's men are perfectly positioned to aim for the club's first championship.

On the other side, the Brumbies were hit with early injury woes in the match when Tevita Kuridrani was knocked out in the first 10 minutes, Henry Speight was left dazed in the opening moments of the second half and Jesse Mogg was left limping after an aerial battle with Israel Folau.

The trio of injuries added to an already disastrous casualty ward in Canberra, which includes Matt Toomua, David Pocock, Stephen Moore, Sam Carter, Joseph Tomane, Pat McCabe and Andrew Smith.

The Brumbies are clinging to a finals berth, but captain Ben Mowen lauded his team's defiance, adding that the club can expect up to eight players back on the field for their next game, against the Western Force.

"It was very tough, in the end the scoreboard doesn't reflect a tough game," Mowen said. "But we're honestly proud. There were moments of championship footy in there, but it wasn't consistent enough. We've just got to win against the Force and whatever happens, happens."

The Waratahs had 14 Test players in their starting XV, while the Brumbies had six Wallabies out of action with injury.

The Brumbies need to win their last game of the regular season against the Western Force on July 11 to be any chance to making the play-offs in successive years for the first time in a decade.

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
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ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
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ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
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