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How a proud club fell into a seven-year glitch


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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58 vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42 vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32 vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18 vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25 vs BRU 24 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46 vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22 vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33 vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20 vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24 vs HIG 45 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5 vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32 vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17 vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31 vs REB 15 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35 vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25 vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36 vs CHF 9 Stats
FOR vs RED Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 17:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 15:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 17:35EP
RED vs CHF 19:40SS
CHT vs WAR 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO vs LIO 01:05DHL Newlands
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 17:35EP
REB vs FOR 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
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Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 14 12 2 0 126 57
Brumbies 14 8 6 0 108 42
Stormers 13 9 4 0 42 38
Highlanders 14 10 4 0 116 48
Waratahs 13 9 4 0 50 41
Lions 14 8 6 0 -27 36
Chiefs 14 9 5 0 60 44
Bulls 14 7 7 0 23 36
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