Aussies not so Su­per

Townsville Bulletin - - Sports -

AN­OTHER long-term back row in­jury com­pounded the Brumbies’ crush­ing de­feat to leave them reel­ing af­ter an­other fruit­less week for Aus­tralia’s Su­per Rugby teams.

For a sec­ond straight round, no Aussie was able to beat an over­seas team.

The Brumbies ( seven points) crashed 52-10 to the Cru­saders ( 12) in Nel­son and the Mel­bourne Rebels ( six) fell 34-32 to the Sharks ( 18) at home af­ter lead­ing the table­top­pers 25-13 early in the sec­ond half.

The win­less West­ern Force ( seven) had the chance to end the bar­ren run, but were forced to set­tle for a 22-22 home draw with the Blues ( 11) af­ter sur­ren­der­ing a 10-point lead with three min­utes to go.

But the un­der­achiev­ing Brumbies were the ma­jor concern from a round in which NSW ( 14) and Queens­land ( 12) re­mained atop the Aus­tralian con­fer­ence af­ter each had a bye. The Brumbies have suf­fered three straight losses, the last two un­der new coach Tony Rea, and con­tinue to strug­gle af­ter sack­ing Andy Friend fol­low­ing round two.

Skip­per Matt Giteau de­scribed their per­for­mance against the po­tent Cru­saders as lazy and said they needed to show more char­ac­ter. With Test back-row­ers Rocky El­som and Stephen Hoiles al­ready side­lined, the Brumbies suf­fered an­other blow with flanker Mitchell Chap­man frac­tur­ing a cheek­bone.

Brumbies team doc­tor An­gus Bath­gate ex­pected Chap­man to face be­tween six to 10 weeks on the side­lines.

‘‘ We’ll know more af­ter he’s had surgery to­mor­row,’’ Bath­gate said.

Wal­la­bies skip­per El­som and Hoiles were both still con­sid­ered 5-6 weeks from re­sum­ing from their ham­string and achilles in­juries re­spec­tively.

For­tu­nately for the Brumbies, rookie back-row­ers Colby Fain­gaa and Ita Vaea have been among their best since be­ing thrown into ac­tion.

Bath­gate was await­ing news from winger Henry Speight ( sus­pected frac­tured jaw) who stayed on in New Zealand, while Wal­la­bies hooker Stephen Moore suf­fered a low-grade an­kle sprain he didn’t think would be a ma­jor is­sue.

Force coach Richard Graham re­mained up­beat about his team’s prospects even though they have yet to reg­is­ter a win this sea­son as they fly out for their South African leg.

Five-eighth Wil­lie Ripia will train to­day to de­ter­mine whether a foot prob­lem will al­low him to make the trip, but James O’Con­nor again made a good fist of the pivot po­si­tion. While some of Aus­tralia’s other goalkickers have strug­gled at the start of the sea­son, O’Con­nor landed six of his seven shots against the Sharks.

Mel­bourne, who picked up two bonus points, have lost in-form vet­eran full­back Mark Ger­rard for four weeks with a shoul­der in­jury. English five-eighth Danny Cipri­ani scored a bril­liant solo try, but also gave one back when he kept a ball in play which was pounced on by Myer Bos­man.


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