Brumbies out to snap final round hoodoo
July 8, 2014
Fotu Auelua believes the Brumbies have learned valuable lessons © Getty Images
Brumbies backrower Fotu Auelua says last year's Super Rugby finals campaign has taught his side valuable lessons ahead of Friday's quasi-knockout clash against the Western Force. And those lessons might just help them kibosh a six-year final-round hoodoo.
With the Brumbies placed sixth and the Force seventh, the winner is guaranteed a Super Rugby finals berth. The loser, on the other hand, will not only need to claim a bonus point, but also have the Blues beat the Chiefs to stay in the competition.
There's just one glaring problem for the Brumbies - they haven't won in the last round of Super Rugby since 2007. The most famous of those losses was their 2012 choke against the Blues, not only relinquishing their 13-week run at the top of the Australian conference, but missing out on a finals spot altogether in the process.
Last year's performance was arguably just as damaging, however, when a shock loss against the Force in Perth cost them an all-important top-two finish. Then there's the fact the Force kicked off the horror run back in 2008, leapfrogging them on the table in the process.
Auelua on Monday acknowledged the Brumbies' recent run of poor performances in their final-round matches, but insisted the playing group's experience in last year's finals campaign will help steel them for the do-or-die clash at Canberra Stadium.
"In 2012 we did fail in trying to get that last win to get into the finals," Auelua said. "But we rectified that in 2013 when we played away in (the semi-final) against the Bulls in Pretoria, and came away with a win against the Cheetahs in Canberra. Those are the lessons we'll take on board, and take forward for this weekend's game."
However, Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said the squad wouldn't be using their poor run of regular season finishes as extra motivation.
"The only relevance is this week. History won't help us," he said.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games