Gutsy Brumbies deliver to honour Mackay
Russell Barwick, ESPN Sportscenter Australia
April 13, 2009
Brumbies players gather to applaud former team mate Shawn Mackay who recently passed away, Brumbies v Stormers, Super 14, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, April 11, 2009
The Brumbies pay tribute to their fallen team mate Shawn Mackay ahead of their Super 14 victory over the Stormers © Getty Images

The effort shown by the Brumbies on the weekend was something special. I could not comprehend what they had to deal with during the week and playing a game of football would seem the most miniscule thing to do considering the circumstances. But it was what they needed to do.

The emotional week would have had to have taken its toll and even watching the players in tears during the minutes applause before the start of the game, made me think how they must be feeling.

Well done to them and to coach Andy Friend who handled himself with complete class during the worst week of all.

The win topped it all off.

It wasn't pretty but that's irrelevant. It just had to be a win and that's what it was. The funeral of Shawn Mackay is this week and again it will be another emotional week for his team mates and friends at the Brumbies.

While I'm on the match - did anyone else raise their eybrows at the 78th minute mark? Stormers down 17-1, they get a penalty and go for a goal?! What the heck is doing there? I mean you are down by 7, the only way you can save some faith is by scoring a converted try -so they go for a penalty! To quote a great Australian saying - 'Have a go you mug!'

The Stormers should give themselves an uppercut

Surely that one single moment should be enough to convince the buffoons that run the game that three points for a penalty is wrong.

Force short-change their supporters

The Western Force are, I repeat, a train wreck and the weekend result hardly inspires confidence in the organisation.

Two tries in under three minutes gave the Hurricanes a win they didn't deserve but nobody has to write how they did it on the scoreboard, just the score, and when you read the score you probably think - close match, well done to the Canes!

What you don't read is the fact that Force led 27-12 after 43 minutes - then failed to score a point for the remainder of the match, at home, in front of 20,000 fans, most whom are entitled to not turn up next time.

The loss spells the end of their season, whilst giving a great lift to the Canes who are now within striking distance of the top four, putting more pressure on the Waratahs who should repay the Force by belting them this weekend.

Waratahs up against it too

And speaking of the Tahs, Chris Hickey spoke of the five scenarios which could face the side leading into the semis:

1. They play away in South Africa against the Bulls
2. They play in New Zealand against the Chiefs
3. They play in South Africa against the Sharks
4. They could have a home semi-final (Highly unlikely)
5. They could miss the finals altogether (Very possible)

The Bulls' last three games are against the Force, Cheetahs and Sharks.

The Sharks play the Highlanders, Tahs and Bulls all at home.

The Chiefs have the Stormers away followed by the Hurricanes and Brumbies at home.

And the Waratahs play their last three in South Africa against the Cheetahs, Sharks and Lions.

So if I was Chris Hickey, I would be making sure that I tell my boys to pack some extra training gear because the last thing I want to do is fly from South Africa on a Saturday to New Zealand for a semi-final on the Friday…

They may need to beat the Lions In Jo'burg to avoid the horror trip back to New Zealand, or they may need to lose to avoid it - now that would make for an even more interesting scenario, don't you think?

Russell Barwick is a presenter for ESPN Sportscenter in Australia

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.