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Brumbies' win at Force proves costly as Wallabies forward injured

By AAP
Injured Brumbies forward Blake Schoupp is helped off at the Force (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has a prop problem after a second Wallabies forward succumbed to injury before finals in his side’s final-round 24-19 win over the Western Force. Brumbies No1 Blake Schoupp appeared to have dislocated his shoulder in the first two minutes of his return from an injury to the same shoulder in Perth.

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He now looks unlikely to appear in his side’s quarter-final next Saturday, as does veteran prop James Slipper who is battling an upper calf injury.

It dampened an otherwise positive night for the Canberrans, who go into the finals with positive momentum, albeit disappointed they were unable to turn their most successful Super Rugby regular season in two decades into a top-two finish.

Both sides went into the match knowing they could do nothing to improve their ladder position; the Melbourne Rebels’ loss to the Fijian Drua ended the Force’s finals hopes, while victories for the Blues and the Hurricanes consigned the Brumbies to third place.

But there was no chance Brumbies coach Larkham would let his men go into the match without their collective foot firmly on the pedal.

Fixture
Super Rugby Pacific
Force
19 - 24
Full-time
Brumbies
All Stats and Data

Captain Allan Ala’alatoa opened the scoring with a try in the sixth minute before speedster Connor Toole doubled the lead with his eighth try of the season, outpacing his opposite number to run onto a perfectly placed Tom Wright kick.

The Force heaped pressure on the Brumbies for long passages of the game, but were all too often the architects of their own demise. The visitors were solid in defence, but the Force were guilty of making simple errors in attacking positions to let their opponents off the hook.

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They were let back into the game when Brumbies half-back Ryan Lonergan was shown a soft yellow card shortly after the half-hour for interfering in a ruck. The Force immediately capitalised with a try through flanker Carlo Tizzano.

Force full-back Kurtley Beale looked to have clawed back another try for his side right on the stroke of half-time but was disallowed after the sideline referee spotted a forward pass in the build-up.

The Brumbies defended solidly in the second half and were more clinical in attack when allowed to break forward. Back-rower Luke Reimer impressed again off the bench, forcing key turnovers with his intensity in the ruck when the Force threatened the Brumbies’ try line.

Toole’s pace once again came to the fore, sprinting back to make a try-saving tackle on Issak Fines-Leleiwasa when he had only green grass in front of him a few yards from the line.

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After a turnover from a Force lineout in their own 22-metre zone, Toole broke clear and drew two defenders to put full-back Wright through for a try. The Brumbies then took the heat out of the game in the final quarter of the match.

The Force scored consolation tries through Fines-Leleiwasa and George Poolman in the final minutes but by that point, both teams were no longer competing with all their heart.

Larkham rested several key men as the game petered out, including five-eighth Noah Lolesio and Ala’alatoa, as he gazed towards his side’s home quarter-final in a week.

The Brumbies will be eagerly tending to their wounded before they host the Highlanders at GIO Stadium after triumphing over the New Zealanders 27-21 in Dunedin in March.

Super Rugby Pacific

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Hurricanes
14
12
2
0
56
2
Blues
14
12
2
0
55
3
Brumbies
14
12
2
0
52
4
Chiefs
14
9
5
0
43
5
Reds
14
8
6
0
40
6
Highlanders
14
6
8
0
28
7
Fijian Drua
14
6
8
0
26
8
Rebels
14
5
9
0
26
9
Crusaders
14
4
10
0
24
10
Force
14
4
10
0
20
11
Moana Pasifika
14
4
10
0
18
12
Waratahs
14
2
12
0
13
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Comments

1 Comment
A
Alex 22 days ago

I don't want to say there's a curse but Aussie Props are dropping like Spinal Tap Drummers this year

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