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Brumbies keep positive despite heartbreaker

Date

Chris Dutton

Brumbies lock Scott Fardy wins a lineout. Click for more photos

ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds

All the action from the round 14 Super Rugby clash between the Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Colleen Petch

IT WAS heartbreaking and frustrating, but the ACT Brumbies are adamant their nail-biting loss to the Queensland Reds will not ruin their Super Rugby dreams as coach Jake White declared: ''We've got a belief we can win the competition.''

The Brumbies fell painfully short of toppling the defending champions at Canberra Stadium last night with the Reds holding on for a 13-12 win.

In an intense battle, the weight of expectation landed on rookie flyhalf Zack Holmes in the dying seconds when the Brumbies won a penalty which could have clinched a remarkable come-from-behind win.

But despite his superb kicking record in his limited experience, Holmes's shot from 38 metres out sailed less than a metre wide of the left post and the Reds left Canberra with their finals hopes still alive.

The Brumbies had built up the top-of-the-Australian-conference clash as a Super Rugby final.

Had they won they could have almost guaranteed themselves a spot in the finals for the first time in seven seasons.

But with four regular-season rounds remaining, the Reds and Brumbies are now neck-and-neck fighting for the one guaranteed spot for an Australian team.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie turned the blowtorch on the Brumbies by saying: ''How do they come back from that?''

However, White insisted the one-point loss had not dented his young team's confidence.

Instead, White said it had given his team more self-belief as they chase a playoffs berth.

''If you put things in perspective, they've [the Reds] probably got more Test caps than we have Super Rugby caps, it's not all doom and gloom,'' White said.

''It was an opportunity to beat the champions … to get that close to a championship team means there are a lot of positives there.

''We're still top of [the ladder], we still have a chance to win our conference and we still have our destiny in our own hands.

''What a wonderful position to be in … there's a lot of rugby left, we've got a belief we can win the competition and now I think the belief is even bigger.''

The Brumbies and Reds were locked in a brutal contest for 70 minutes.

Reds fullback Luke Morahan was the only try-scorer in the match when he put on a burst of individual brilliance to gather a kick, chip and chase and win the race to the ball to open the scoring.

From there Mike Harris and Holmes traded penalty goals with both defences refusing to budge.

It was the first time in five seasons the Brumbies had failed to score a try in a match at home.

The Brumbies were superb under pressure. For almost 10 minutes the Reds peppered their try line to try to deliver the killer blow.

But just when the contest seemed over, Saia Faingaa gave away a penalty at the breakdown and Holmes courageously stepped up to take what could have been a match-winning shot.

Holmes had been suffering cramp for 15 minutes in just his second starting XV appearance.

And despite having just 200 minutes of Super Rugby experience, he almost slotted a shot which could have catapulted the Brumbies clear in the Australian conference.

Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen praised the 21-year-old after the match and his teammates surrounded him to offer their support.

''He's a tough little bugger, he cramped quite chronically and we got that penalty and he demanded to be the one taking the shot,'' Mowen said. ''That's what you want, guys stepping up in those hard times.

''He knows he's either the guy who won the game … he's just a fighter and one of the guys who has huge character.''

Mowen said the Brumbies would benefit from the experience of pushing last year's champion side.

''The way we fought off our line, the discipline we had … I take heaps of positives out of the change in temperament this team has,'' he said.

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
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BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
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SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
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HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
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Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
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SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
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BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
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RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
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HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
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STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
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BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
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HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
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SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
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BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
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SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
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BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
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Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
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CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
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LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
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Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
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LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
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WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
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LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
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Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
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FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
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Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
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HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
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STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
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BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
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BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
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Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
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Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
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Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
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Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
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