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NSW Waratahs ban ACT Brumbies mascot from Super Rugby semi-final

Brumby Jack has been relegated to the stands with the supporters this weekend.

Brumby Jack has been relegated to the stands with the supporters this weekend. Photo: Jay Cronan

 Why the long face?

ACT Brumbies mascot  Brumby Jack  has been forced to buy a ticket to the biggest Australian rugby derby in more than a decade after NSW officials banned him from the Allianz Stadium sideline on Saturday night.

The Waratahs have sold almost 35,000 tickets for the blockbuster clash against the Brumbies in Sydney, with the winner advancing to the Super Rugby grand final next week.

But Brumby Jack will have to sit in the stands with fans instead of trotting up and down the sideline after NSW denied his request to join Tah Man on the field

NSW say there's no room for horse play so close to the action as they prepare to host their first final in six years, offering no reason other than Brumby Jack has to pay for his ticket.

Fans started an online petition on Tuesday night in the hope Waratahs officials would cave and allow Brumby Jack to go head to head with Tah Man.

The Brumbies confirmed Brumby Jack would be part of the travelling party, but it is believed to be the first time a visiting mascot has been denied on-field access.

"This is all a bit of horseplay,'' said Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen. ''The stadium bylaws prohibit animals, and that includes horses.

"The answer to all requests for free tickets for this match has been neigh. Brumby Jack can buy a ticket like everyone else."

Brumby Jack was invited to AAMI Park in Melbourne earlier this year to pump up the crowd for the game against the Rebels.

It's the first time since 2002 that two Australian teams have gone into battle in a finals match.

The Brumbies and Waratahs share a rich history of intense rivalry and this match will pit some of the best players in Australia against each other.

Superstar Israel Folau and Fijian flyer Henry Speight will compete for the title of best game-breaker, giant lock Will Skelton will take on hard-working Brumby Sam Carter and former ACT skipper Stephen Hoiles lines up against his replacement, Ben Mowen.

But for now, Tah Man and Brumby Jack have been denied a sideline contest for fan support.

The Brumbies are sending busloads of supporters to Sydney for the match.

NRL mascots are allowed to travel to any venue in the competition.

Victor the Viking will be going toe-to-toe with Reggie the Rabbit at Canberra Stadium for the Raiders' round-20 clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Monday night.

Brumby Jack became a Youtube sensation in April when comedian Dayne Rathbone - brother of Brumbies winger Clyde - vomited on the sideline when he overheated.

The Waratahs are hosting a final for the first time since 2008 after finishing the regular season as the best team in the competition and are favourites to claim their first Super Rugby championship.

Australian teams haven't squared off in a sudden-death play-off match since the Brumbies beat the Waratahs 51-10 in 2002.

The Brumbies and Waratahs have played twice this season, with each side winning once.

"The Waratahs have set the tone all year, that's why they're No. 1 and they've been able to put teams away. We need to make sure we shape up because last time we weren't great," said Brumbies prop Scott Sio.

SUPER RUGBY SEMI-FINAL

Saturday: NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies at Allianz Stadium, 7.40pm. Tickets available at Ticketek. Adult tickets from $28, family pass $77. Visit Brumbies website for supporter bus information.

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