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Brumbies wary of Crusaders' threat as they look to end 15-year hoodoo

By AAP
Stephen Larkham has presided over six wins out of seven so far with his side sitting joint top (Photo Joe Allison/Getty Images)

As 20-year anniversary commemorations of the ACT Brumbies’ grand-final triumph over the Crusaders step into full swing, coach Stephen Larkham could be forgiven for getting all teary-eyed.

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It was, after all, one of the defining moments of his illustrious career.

But the former Wallabies five-eighth now has his eyes firmly on the future, knowing full well his side must just focus on beating their New Zealand rivals in Saturday’s round-13 Super Rugby Pacific clash.

The third-placed Brumbies have not beaten the Crusaders in more than 15 years but will start favourites with their opposition second-bottom after a disappointing season.

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Larkham expects a robust contest nonetheless, with an upset win giving the Crusaders a chance to climb into a finals spot.

“When you look at their games throughout the year, they’ve been close in a number of their games and they’re actually playing really good rugby,” he said.

“So it’s a similar challenge definitely to the Waratahs last week, who we thought had played really well throughout the season but hadn’t got the wins as well.”

Larkham was surprised by the bottom-of-the-ladder Waratahs’ mental fortitude in the Brumbies’ hard-fought 29-21 win.

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“We said at some stage they’re going to give up, the mental side of the game is probably going to be too much for them. But it didn’t happen,” he said.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
4
Average Points scored
23
33
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
80%

“So the boys had to struggle the whole way through the game.”

With three regular-season matches remaining, the Brumbies’ fine form has their faithfuls hopeful of a first title since the 2004 triumph over the Crusaders.

The class of 2024 will be given a pre-match rev-up by the class of 2004 and wear a commemorative heritage jersey to conjure up that champion feeling.

While the off-field celebrations have boosted the mood in camp, Larkham is eager not to get too swept up in the emotion.

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“They’re conscious of it,” he said.

“But what we did 20 years ago is certainly not going to help the guys play any better this weekend.”

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1 Comment
J
Jacinda 34 days ago

Brumbies will win, crusaders are pretty awful this year

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Flankly 16 hours ago
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