• Switch Edition
Follow
Super Rugby Qualifiers: Brumbies v Cheetahs
Embarrassed Brumbies refusing to panic
July 14, 2013
The Brumbies' Scott Fardy gestures to team-mates, Western Force v Brumbies, Super Rugby, nib Stadium, Perth, July 13, 2013
Scott Fardy and the Brumbies had little reason to smile in Perth © Getty Images
Enlarge

Brumbies coach Jake White hopes his team's horror showing against Western Force will be a wake-up call ahead of the Super Rugby finals. The Brumbies made 17 handling errors, combined with a series of inexplicable errors by key players, to consign themselves to a shock 21-15 loss to the lowly Force in round 20 at nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday night.

The Brumbies would have been rewarded with second spot on the ladder and a home semi-final had they secured a bonus-point victory against the Force, but they now need to win three finals games - including two on the road - if they are to snare this year's title. Their quest begins in Canberra next Sunday afternoon, when they take on South Africa's unpredictable Cheetahs in Super Rugby Qualifier B. Victory will see the Australian Conference champions travel to Pretoria for a daunting into a daunting semi-final against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld a week later.

White conceded his players were off their game mentally against the Force, but he backed them to return to their clinical best against the Cheetahs. "We know we can't get any worse than we were tonight," White said. "It's going to be a wake-up call now. We have now obviously got the low road in that we've got to play three games if we want to win the championship. But it's not all doom or gloom. We know we've played a lot of good rugby this year. We can't be worrying about the fact [of whether] this is going to dent any confidence."

The Brumbies and Cheetahs haven't met this year, but the Australian Conference champions boast four wins from their past five encounters against the Bloemfontein-based side - including by one point when the teams last met in Canberra in 2012.

The Brumbies haven't featured in the post-season since winning the title in 2004, but they remain quietly confident of going all the way despite their flop against the Force. Jesse Mogg and Matt Toomua must regain their mojo if they are to achieve their goal of winning the title, however, as both players endured a shocker in Perth, the fly-half committing the most basic of errors when he did not ground the ball after catching a wayward shot at goal by Force fullback Jayden Hayward.

Sam Wykes and the Force enjoyed a night out against the Brumbies © Getty Images
Enlarge

The Cheetahs' Lappies Labuschagne jumps in the line-out, Cheetahs v Sharks, Super Rugby, Kings Park, Durban, April 20, 2013
Lappies Labuschagne is but one Cheetahs player the Brumbies must beware © Getty Images
Enlarge

"Mentally we were just that little bit off and at this level you can't do that," Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said. "The Force won the attitude and work rate areas ... it was probably a good night to have in terms of you can't just assume you can turn up and it will happen. So much of this year has been really good. We're not going to change things now, it's just about mentally being in the right frame of mind. Maybe we were guilty of thinking it would just click."

White said: "We were probably guilty of thinking about [the finals] and I guess we're just thankful we can get away with a loss here. If you're going to lose a weekend, you'd rather lose this one. It's going to be a wake-up call, we know we can't get any worse."

The Cheetahs have enjoyed their best season to date, with a strong all-round attacking game and solid defence, and they will be aiming to make their maiden finals appearance memorable. They head to Canberra fully rested after having the bye in the final home-and-away round of the competition.

Western Force outplayed the Brumbies in all aspects of the game in Perth (video available only in Australia)

Play-off schedule

Week 1:

Saturday, July 20
(4) Crusaders v (5) Reds
AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand
Kick-off (1935 local, 1735 NSW/ACT, 0935 SAT, 0735 GMT)

Sunday, July 21
(3) Brumbies v (6) Cheetahs
Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia
Kick-off (1610 local, 1810 NZT, 0810 SAT, 0610 GMT)

Week 2 - July 26/27:

(2) Bulls v Highest-ranked winner from Week 1
(1) Chiefs v Other winner from Week 1

Week 3 - August 3:
Winner of semi-final with highest ranking v other winning semi-finalist

Super Rugby Table:

Position Team Conference Points
1. Chiefs New Zealand Conference 66
2. Bulls South African Conference 63
3. Brumbies Australian Conference 60
4. Crusaders Wildcard 60
5. Reds Wildcard 58
6. Cheetahs Wildcard 54

Super Rugby Conferences Tables:

Australian
Pos Team P W D L Bye F A PD TF TA TBP LBP Pts
1 Brumbies 16 10 2 4 2 430 295 +135 43 31 5 3 60
2 Reds 16 10 2 4 2 321 296 +25 31 23 4 2 58
3 Waratahs 16 8 0 8 2 411 371 +40 45 34 1 4 45
4 Melbourne Rebels 16 5 0 11 2 382 515 -133 44 65 4 5 37
5 Force 16 4 1 11 2 267 366 -99 26 34 0 5 31


New Zealand
Pos Team P W D L Bye F A PD TF TA TBP LBP Pts
1 Chiefs 16 12 0 4 2 458 364 +94 50 38 8 2 66
2 Crusaders 16 11 0 5 2 446 307 +139 44 31 5 3 60
3 Blues 16 6 0 10 2 347 364 -17 40 36 6 6 44
4 Hurricanes 16 6 0 10 2 386 457 -71 41 49 4 5 41
5 Highlanders 16 3 0 13 2 374 496 -122 40 55 4 5 29


South African
Pos Team P W D L Bye F A PD TF TA TBP LBP Pts
1 Bulls 16 12 0 4 2 448 330 +118 41 34 5 2 63
2 Cheetahs 16 10 0 6 2 382 358 +24 38 32 2 4 54
3 Stormers 16 9 0 7 2 346 292 +54 30 18 1 5 50
4 Sharks 16 8 0 8 2 384 305 +79 40 31 3 5 48
5 Southern Kings 16 3 1 12 2 298 564 -266 27 69 2 0 24

© AAP
Live Scores
Results
Fixtures