Brumbies upset by Cheetahs
May 18, 2014
Henry Speight made his return from a broken jaw, but he wasn't able to boost the Brumbies to a win
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The Super Rugby Australian conference-leading Brumbies have stumbled to a shock 27-21 away loss to the lowly Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The Brumbies picked up a bonus point for the narrow loss to ensure they stayed top of the Australian conference and third on the overall ladder.
Both teams scored two tries, but the Cheetahs led for most of the game early Sunday, Australian time. The Brumbies were up 11-9 at the break, but were probably fortunate to be in front after a tardy start.
Cheetahs five-eighth Johan Goosen, who finished with 22 points, kicked three early penalties to give his side a 9-0 advantage. The game turned against the Brumbies in the first 15 minutes of the second half, in which the Cheetahs scored two tries and 15 unanswered points to lead 24-11. A penalty and late converted try to hooker Stephen Moore got the Brumbies to within three points, with just over five minutes to go.
However, a booming 51-metre field goal to Goosen sealed the upset win for the home side. "We didn't have the start we would have liked," Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said. "But you've got to give credit to the way the Cheetahs came out. They really hustled us early on and took advantage of early penalties we were giving away. Once you've lost that early momentum, it's hard to wrest it back."
A slow start from the Brumbies cost the side in Bloemfontein (video available in Australia only)
It looked like being one of those nights for the Brumbies as winger Henry Speight had a try rubbed out for obstruction in the sixth minute and lock Scott Fardy was sin-binned nine minutes later. Christian Leali'ifano missed with two first-half penalty attempts and half-back Nic White was also off target with two early shots. However, White did kick two penalties and set up winger Robbie Coleman for a try with a perfect stab kick.
"We struggled to find a bit of rhythm in that first half, a few decisions went against us and we left a few points out there," Larkham told AAP. "We made a few stupid mistakes and that certainly hurt us. In the second half, we let in two relatively soft tries and then we had to claw it back. We had opportunities to create a little bit of rhythm, but again similar to the first half, a couple of decisions went against us, or individuals again made some silly mistakes."
Asked about the obstruction call against centre Tevita Kuridrani that denied Speight a try in his first game back from a jaw injury, Larkham said: "Tevita ran on the outside of the defending No.12 and it looked to me like the 12 made the decision to tackle Tevita, as opposed to making the decision to tackle Henry.
"But you're not going to get any of those 50-50 decisions over in South Africa, so we had to move on from that. I thought we moved on pretty well from that decision, but those little decisions really interrupt your momentum in the game."
The Brumbies half-time lead didn't last long as Springboks winger Willie Le Roux crossed following a fine pass from half-back Shaun Venter and Goosen leapt over Coleman to add a spectacular five-pointer just three minutes later. White converted after Moore smashed his way over and then kicked a penalty after Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brussow was sin-binned, but Goosen's long range field goal settled the issue.