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How a proud club fell into a seven-year glitch

Date

Chris Dutton

The Brumbies have endured seven years of pain since their Super Rugby triumph of 2004. Chris Dutton looks back over the last eight years at what went wrong.

Stirling Mortlock feels the pain of a Brumbies loss in 2009.

Stirling Mortlock feels the pain of a Brumbies loss in 2009. Photo: Reuters

 

2004

Coach: David Nucifora.

Result: 1st (won final), played 13, won 10, lost 3, 8 bonus points.

DESPITE an early-season player revolt, the Brumbies were unstoppable. The players and coach David Nucifora were at loggerheads, but the team kept producing outstanding results. The club announced midway through the season Nucifora's contract would not be renewed. However, the Brumbies lost just three games during the season and finished on top of the ladder. Future club greats Stephen Larkham, Owen Finegan, George Gregan, George Smith and Joe Roff were instrumental in the stunning campaign. They beat the Canterbury Crusaders in the final at Canberra Stadium. Off the field the players and coach couldn't agree, but they found a way to continue their domination of the competition.

 

2005

Coach: Laurie Fisher.

Result: 5th, played 11, won 5, lost 5, drew 1, 7 bonus points.

FORMER assistant coach Laurie Fisher took the head coaching reins. for the first time. The Brumbies' title defence started with promise and the regular season ended on a high, but it was a mid-season slump which cruelled their chances of going back to back. The Brumbies lost five games in a row, which ended their hopes. A last-round win against the Queensland Reds kept them in the hunt, but the Pretoria Bulls thumped the Cape Town Stormers 75-14 to extinguish the Brumbies' season. Injuries to Wallabies playmaker Stephen Larkham meant the team was forced to find a new flyhalf and no one could fill the void. The team relied so heavily on Larkham to perform it was a different side when he wasn't on the field. Despite their struggles, the Brumbies scored six tries in their last-round win to send foundation player Owen Finegan out a winner.

 

2006

Coach: Laurie Fisher.

Result: 6th, played 13, won 8, lost 4, drew 1, 4 bonus points.

BRILLIANT defence, average attack - that's the easiest way to sum up the 2006 campaign. The Brumbies had a mix of youth and experience in their squad, but they couldn't put it all together. It was the team's try-scoring ability which crippled their top-four hopes. They conceded less than two tries a game, but scored an average of just three. All the teams above them on the ladder had better attacking records and finishing the season with just four bonus points was what stood between the Brumbies and the finals. Fourth, fifth and sixth on the ladder were tied on 38 points, but the Pretoria Bulls' superior for and against record lifted them into the play-offs. Stirling Mortlock was superb and the strong season led to Laurie Fisher re-signing for a further two years.

 

2007

Coach: Laurie Fisher.

Result: 5th, played 13, won 9, lost 4, 4 bonus points.

THE George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Jeremy Paul farewell tour was supposed to end with the club's third championship. All three were Wallabies greats who had decided 2007 would be their last Super Rugby season. And it was so close to coming to fruition. They became the first team in Brumbies history to win six games in a row and broke a 12-year hoodoo in Dunedin. But the finals curse continued. They missed a spot in the play-offs by just two points. They only lost four matches - including two after the buzzer. In the end the losses came back to haunt the two-time champions and they couldn't give their legends the send off they deserved. Again, the team's inability to collect bonus points was a major factor in their failure to make the finals.

 

2008

Coach: Laurie Fisher.

Result: 9th, played 13, won 6, lost 7, 6 bonus points.

FOR the first time in more than a decade the Brumbies ran on to the field knowing they would never have Gregan, Larkham or Paul back again. It was hoped the Brumbies could surge forward despite losing the three greats. But injuries crippled their hopes of proving they could fight on. Clyde Rathbone didn't play, Gene Fairbanks was on the field once, Julian Huxley had three games, Stirling Mortlock got six and Adam Ashley-Cooper was fit for eight. For the first time in a long time the Brumbies were out of finals contention before the end of the regular season.

 

2009

Coach: Andy Friend.

Result: 7th, played 13, won 8, lost 5, 6 bonus points.

ANDY Friend took over in a changing of the guard which was hoped would invigorate the Brumbies. One of Friend's first moves was to make Stephen Hoiles captain and reduce the workload on Wallabies veteran Stirling Mortlock. Friend recruited Wallabies rake Stephen Moore to bulk up the forward pack. For the most part, it worked. But a 56-7 thrashing at the hands of the Wellington Hurricanes left their finals hopes hanging by a thread. It came down to the last game of the season against the Waikato Chiefs and the Brumbies fell short, losing 10-7. But the season will be forever etched in Brumbies history for the death of Shawn Mackay. Mackay died after being hit by a car in Durban on the team's tour of South Africa. It shattered the tight-knit team and they rallied in his honour.

 

2010

Coach: Andy Friend.

Result: 6th, played 13, won 8, lost 5, 5 bonus points.

THE Brumbies were dubbed the Real Madrid of the competition after they successfully recruited Matt Giteau and Rocky Elsom to add to their star line-up. Most thought it was the year the Brumbies would end their finals drought. The Brumbies already had Stirling Mortlock, George Smith, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stephen Moore, Mark Chisholm and Ben Alexander. In almost every position they boasted players capable of stepping up to Test level. But after a promising start, the Wallabies-laden squad failed to rise into the play-offs. Their finals hopes hinged on their last game of the season against the Canterbury Crusaders. They fell at the final hurdle, losing by 18 points.

 

2011

Coach: Andy Friend/Tony Rea.

Result: 13th , played 16, won 4, lost 11, drew 1, 7 bonus points.

THE season of redemption was destined for disaster when Andy Friend was sacked after just two games. The Brumbies still boasted one of the most talented rosters in the competition, but behind the scenes things were falling apart. Friend had his contract cut short after the Brumbies lost to the Melbourne Rebels in round two. His assistant Tony Rea took over as the interim boss and he unleashed a verbal spray after his team lost to the Johannesburg Lions, calling the players soft and saying they had given up. It inspired a brief rally and they beat the eventual champions the Queensland Reds. But the season came crashing down when they were embarrassed by the NSW Waratahs in the last round, losing 41-7.

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Super Rugby 2016

Round 1
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs HUR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs CHF 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs REB 0 21:50nib Stadium
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs SHA 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs BUL 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 0vs BLU 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs WAR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs LIO 0 15:15FMG Stadium Waikato
HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
RED 0vs FOR 0 19:40SS
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs REB 0 00:00Loftu
CHT 0vs STO 0 02:05FSS
SHA 0vs Jagu 0 04:10GpKP
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HUR 0 17:35EP
FOR 0vs BRU 0 22:05nib Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs LIO 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs RED 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs CHT 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs CHF 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs SHA 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs FOR 0 17:35Central Energy Trust Arena
WAR 0vs HIG 0 19:40AS
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
Sunw 0vs REB 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs King 0 17:35AMI
RED 0vs BLU 0 19:40SS
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CHT 0 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs BRU 0 04:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs CHF 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs King 0 17:35WS
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
REB 0vs HIG 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs BUL 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs BRU 0 00:00FSS
SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
RED 0vs WAR 0 16:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs FOR 0 17:35FBS
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CRU 0 04:00Emirates Airlines Park
BLU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35QBE Stadium
BRU 0vs CHF 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs Sunw 0 02:05NMBS
BUL 0vs CHT 0 03:10Loftu
WAR 0vs REB 0 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs BLU 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs CRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs Sunw 0 03:00DHL Newlands
HUR 0vs Jagu 0 17:35WS
RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
King 0vs BUL 0 03:10NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs Sunw 0 03:00FSS
BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs RED 0 01:05Loftu
LIO 0vs STO 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs SHA 0 17:35Yarro
FOR 0vs BUL 0 21:05nib Stadium
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs BRU 0 15:15Rugby Park
BLU 0vs REB 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs HUR 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs King 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs RED 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs FOR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
SHA 0vs HUR 0 23:00GpKP
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs BLU 0 01:05NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs CRU 0 17:35ANZ National Stadium, Suva
BRU 0vs RED 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs WAR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs SHA 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs BRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs King 0 03:00Emirates Airlines Park
CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs Sunw 0 01:05Loftu
SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs Sunw 0 03:00GpKP
CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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