The Brumbies went down to the Chiefs in Waikato on Saturday afternoon.
What are we talking about after the 28-10 defeat?
1. Hurricanes to determine Canberra outing
The Chiefs were chasing a bonus-point win against an under-manned Brumbies side but fell one try short of that in round 17. Whether they’ll be forced to go to Cape Town next week or head to Canberra to face the Brumbies again will be in the hands of the HUrricanes on Saturday night, though. If the Hurricanes win and end the Crusaders’ unbeaten 2017 run, they’ll book themselves a trip across the Tasman. Lose and the Chiefs will have fifth spot locked up and will be in Canberra again next week.
2. Alaalatoa’s absence telling in Waikato
Allan Alaalatoa’s influence at the Brumbies this season was shown more acutely in his absence than when he has packed down this season. The Brumbies scrum was soundly beaten in the opening half, with Les Makin and Nic Mayhew unable to get the better of the Chiefs’ front row. Things were shored up in the back end of the game with the injection of Ben Alexander and Scott Sio, but they’ll be bringing Alaalatoa back next week.
3. Smiling assassin strikes again
One of the scariest facts in Super Rugby is that Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie is still just a fringe All Blacks player. Yes, he’s small, but he is one of the most damaging players in the competition. Had all the early points for the Chiefs and finished with an absurd 209 run metres, 16 carries and two try assists.
4. No massacre despite mass changes
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham made 12 changes to his starting side for the Chiefs game, in a move reminiscent of an ill-fated Waratahs’ call in 2002 that led to a record overseas loss. This time, though, the under-manned Brumbies showed they could mix it with the New Zealand side, albeit one that was missing its own All Blacks as well.
5. Regular season whitewash
The Brumbies will have one more chance to notch a win over a Kiwi side, but Australian sides have produced a bagel from 25 attempts against New Zealand teams in 2017. No Australian side has beaten a Kiwi side since May 27 last year, when the Waratahs beat the Chiefs, and none has won in New Zealand since April 2015 when the Waratahs beat the Hurricanes. As far as a barometer for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup goes, Australia is looking at a very stormy sky.
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