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Spirited Brumbies' second-half surge falls short

Date

David Polkinghorne

Ian Prior of the Brumbies is tackled by Liam Williams of Wales during the tour match between the ACT and Wales at Canberra Stadium.

Ian Prior of the Brumbies is tackled by Liam Williams of Wales during the tour match between the ACT and Wales at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Finally the ACT Brumbies have copped an injury break.

When Brumbies fans saw fullback Robbie Coleman come off with an shoulder injury at half-time of the gutsy 25-15 loss to Wales at Canberra Stadium last night, it looked like the already thin back-line stocks had become even thinner.

But coach Jake White said it was more of a precautionary measure, rather than anything serious, and he expected the versatile back to be available when Super Rugby resumes against the Western Force after the international break.

Brumbies player Robbie Coleman injured his shoulder in the tour game against Wales.

Brumbies player Robbie Coleman injured his shoulder in the tour game against Wales. Photo: Melissa Adams

''He just got a bang on I think his [AC joint]. It's something that I need him with Joe Tomane being injured, I just didn't want to risk it with playing him for 80 minutes,'' White said.

''He's one of our back three and with our injury list as it is I'd rather just take him off and give some other player an opportunity.''

Last night's game was an opportunity for a few outside backs to put their hand up for a spot on the bench.

Brumbies player Cam Crawford is tackled by a Welsh defender.

Brumbies player Cam Crawford is tackled by a Welsh defender. Photo: Melissa Adams

An ankle syndesmosis injury to winger Tomane while on Wallabies duties has opened a door.

Wingers Kimami Sitauti and Cam Crawford appeared to be front runners for that spot after they were given starting roles, with Tom Cox coming off the bench.

Of the trio, Crawford was the most impressive, although he did squander a golden opportunity for the Brumbies but his pass went into touch when a try was there for the taking.

If he had found his mark, it could have levelled the scores with the Brumbies trailing 22-15 at the time.

Cox made a great break after coming on at half-time, catching a high ball and bursting through the Wales line.

He attempted a chip and chase with a couple of Welsh backs to beat but was unable to recover the ball.

Centre Andrew Smith's straight running was a constant threat to Wales.

White said he was still unsure how he would shape his bench when Super Rugby resumes.

''We've got the Force first up and they've got six Wallabies in their forward pack so maybe we'll go a 5-2 split [between forwards and backs on the bench] so it's not all cut in stone that we'll go with two backs or three backs on the bench,'' he said.

''I think the reality is we've just got to have a look and see how Robbie's injury is first of all and see which guys can play 80 minutes and then make a decision on who we think is going to be the best suited for the Force game.''

It was a game of contrasting styles. The Welsh had clearly come with a plan to attack at all costs, opting to practice their line-outs and scrums when the Brumbies gave away penalties - although they did go away from that towards the end of the game when the Brumbies got back to 19-15 and appeared to have momentum. They then took the points to ensure there wasn't an embarrassing upset.

The crowd of 7248 would have preferred the Brumbies to have a similar approach, but flyhalf Zack Holmes went for the points at every opportunity and he scored all of the Brumbies' points with his boot.

Wales probably should've wrapped the game up in the first half, scoring three tries but it could have had more if it weren't for the skill errors plaguing them.

The Brumbies fought back in the second half and had the chance to pull off an upset, but it wasn't to be.

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AT A GLANCE

WALES 25 (James Hook, Justin Tipuric, Alun Jones tries; Hook 2 con, 2 pen) bt ACT BRUMBIES 15 (Zack Holmes 5 pens).

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