The ACT Brumbies are hellbent on creating history when they arrive at Lang Park in search of back-to-back Super Rugby AU titles. But to make history, they'll have to defy it.
Only six Super Rugby teams have been crowned champions away from home since 1996. Nineteen times the hosting team has lifted the silverware on their own turf.
It's a trend the Brumbies are looking to reverse in the Super Rugby AU final against the fancied Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Brumbies enter the clash as underdogs, though still Australia's most successful professional rugby club. To pull off this feat would be to create "one of our greatest achievements as a club" in the eyes of coach Dan McKellar.
The Canterbury Crusaders have succeeded four times away from home - once in Canberra, while the Pretoria Bulls and Otago Highlanders are the only other clubs to win deciders on the road.
MORE RUGBY UNION
The Brumbies have tried and failed to win championships abroad three times, with their most recent attempt ending in heartbreak against the Waikato Chiefs in 2013.
"Which would make it all the more special, to buck the trend," McKellar said.
"I think it would be a greater achievement again. It would be one of our greatest achievements as a club, to go up there and get a result away from home. It's been done in the past, the Crusaders have done it, but it is rare.
"We know we were up there four weeks ago and we were seconds away from pulling off a famous victory. It would mean a lot. Last year was a really special moment for the 2020 group, and this one would be the same and potentially greater again.
"We understand it's a difficult task, it's a difficult task if you're playing at [Canberra] Stadium as well. We're looking to change history there."
Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White and prop Scott Sio were on the wrong end of that 2013 decider against the Chiefs, in which the visitors coughed up a 10-point lead in the final 17 minutes to go down by five.
The Brumbies were the last team to win a Super Rugby final, albeit in an Australian iteration of the competition last year. Super Rugby Aotearoa and South Africa's Super Rugby Unlocked used a first past the post system in 2020.
It means the Reds were the last team to go behind enemy lines in search of silverware, only to come up short. But this time they enter as favourites spurred on by the roar of a packed house in Brisbane.
"It'll be tough, but I've played a few finals now and they're all bloody tough no matter where you play them," White said.
"There's a couple of extra challenges there but we have somewhat of a mindset of going up there to Queensland with no one expecting us really to win. It's almost like we get a free shot.
"We're confident within the group. We'll plan well, narrow the mind, and we're certainly going up there full of confidence to give it a full crack and see how we go.
"Everyone has spoken about the Reds all year, it seems like they came out before the season as favourites. They've played bloody good footy, they're a good rugby team and we're going to have to be at our best to go up there and beat them.
"We feel confident we can do that, but there is certainly a hell of a lot of pressure on them. It's what you play rugby for. We're stoked.
"The energy and buzz is pretty high as you'd imagine, but we've got to quickly focus on the job at hand and making sure we knuckle down and narrow our focus to going up there to Brissy."
SUPER RUGBY AU FINAL
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport and 9Gem. Tickets from Ticketek.
*The Brumbies are offering a package for fans including a charter flight to and from Brisbane, a ticket to the final, and one night's accommodation. Secure your seat here.
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