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What we learned: ACT Brumbies v Durban Sharks

ACT Brumbies player Joe Tomane on a charge in the early minutes of the game. Click for more photos

Super Rugby: Brumbies v Sharks

The Brumbies take on the Sharks at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

SCOREBOARD

ACT BRUMBIES 16 (Sam Carter try; Christian Lealiifano 3 penalties, conversion) bt DURBAN SHARKS 9 (Frans Steyn 3 penalties) at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night. Referee: Glen Jackson. Crowd: 11,615.

THE RUNNING RUGBY?

Forget about running rugby, the top-of-the-table battle was all about a kicking duel. With more than 70 kicks inside the first 55 minutes, the game between the Brumbies and Sharks was an arm-wrestle more than a fast-flowing match. It was always going to happen with so much at stake for both teams. The Brumbies were desperate to beat the first-placed Sharks and former mentor Jake White. White's influence was all over the game. When he coached the Brumbies in 2012 and 2013, the Brumbies refused to take risks from inside their own half. Now the Sharks are doing the same and using Frans Steyn's booming boot to strangle teams. The tactics were clear. After 55 minutes, the Sharks had made 38 tactical kicks compared to the Brumbies' 34. The Brumbies want to play a free-flowing style this season, but the contest between the two best teams was a far cry from the high-scoring NSW Waratahs-Wellington Hurricanes battle last weekend. When the Brumbies finally got some fast ball at the breakdown, Nic White put Sam Carter through a massive hole for the first try. The interesting battle will be seeing which style can win the Super Rugby title. Or maybe it's a mixture.

TIME TO MOVE ON: JAKE

The Jake White era at the Brumbies is over and the World Cup winning coach felt a sense of relief after leaving Canberra Stadium. White quit the Brumbies last year, just two months after guiding them to the Super Rugby final. It shocked the players and club. White has maintained leaving was the right decision. But even with all his experience, White was still nervous. It wasn't the crowd's reaction to his comeback that had him a little on edge. White wanted to see the players he'd worked so closely with over the past two years. After the siren, White made a direct line for the Brumbies change rooms. He joked he was confused at which room he was supposed to be in. But it was a deliberate act to address Brumbies players before he had been to see the Sharks squad. White spoke to players individually, saying he was hugged by David Pocock and he felt it was time to move on. He's right, the Jake White chapter is almost over. There could be one final twist though. With the Brumbies and Sharks so close on the ladder, a finals match up is certainly on the cards.

THE DEFINING MOMENT

In a game dominated by kicking in general play, one try was enough to separate the top two teams in Super Rugby. It came from an unlikely source, Brumbies lock Sam Carter dashing 15 metres to score. Both camps after the match said the goal wasn't to play attractive rugby. There was a higher prize at stake, with the Super Rugby season winding down and crucial competition points up for grabs. But scrumhalf Nic White's decision making at the breakdown and Carter's surprising speed burst proved the difference. White saw a gap in the Sharks line, drew a defender and passed to Carter who scored. The Sharks had their chances to score from rolling mauls close to the line, but they failed to capitalise in the dying minutes.

WINGER'S CURSE

Just as the Brumbies start to get over their injury nightmares, winger Joseph Tomane was hit with the curse on the eve of a South African tour. Tomane now looks like a long shot to win a spot in the Wallabies squad for a three-Test series against France after suffering an eye socket injury against the Sharks on Saturday night. Tomane clashed heads with teammate Ben Alexander in the first half and was forced to leave the field. He was sent to hospital for X-rays to see if he can travel to South Africa with his teammates. It's a major blow for Tomane and the Brumbies. His start to the season was halted by a foot injury and now he faces another stint on the sideline. However, it could prevent a selection headache for the Brumbies coaches. Henry Speight is set to make his comeback from a broken jaw this week and will join the team in South Africa. Robbie Coleman has been outstanding in Speight's absence. But you've got to feel for Tomane. Every time he starts to hit top form, injury hits. He made his Wallabies debut in 2012 but played one Test before injuring his ankle. With his first touch in the first minute against the Sharks, the former NRL winger made a 50-metre break.

THE RESTARTS

If there's one area of the Brumbies' game that needs to urgently be addressed, it's their ability to get out of trouble after scoring points. Lock Sam Carter scored the first try of the match in the 65th minute to put the Brumbies on the front foot. But just when they needed to put the Sharks under more pressure, they dropped the ball at the kick-off and were under the pump immediately. It has happened far too often for the Brumbies this year. Their defence has been outstanding and regularly gets them out of trouble. But in tight situations, the inability to recover after scoring points looms as a game breaker.

WHITE'S RUNNING BATTLE

Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White continues to press his claims for the Wallabies No.9 jersey with some outstanding form. The diminutive scrumhalf set up Sam Carter for a try with some superb play at the breakdown and was willing to attack the line. He re-signed with the Brumbies and the ARU earlier in the week and the Wallabies will be relieved he decided to stay in Australia. But there was one running battle White had no control over on the field. Referee Glen Jackson was sick of hearing the chirpy No.9 and warned him to be quiet. Jackson has been in charge of the past two Brumbies games and has exchanged words with White on both occasions. Jackson's officiating left a lot to be desired. He penalised the Brumbies early on for shepherding off the ball when chasing a kick, but both sides did the same thing all night and he failed to punish them. He penalised White for not putting the ball in the scrum, despite the set piece failing to settle before the ball could go in. Meanwhile, Brumbies prop Scott Sio's superb work around the field has to put him in Test selection contention. Sio must be the best on-ball big man in the competition, regularly pulling off textbook steals at the breakdown.

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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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