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'Gutless': Brumbies 'robbed' of chance to win by non-call in final moments of semi-final

By Sam Smith
(Source/Sky Sport NZ)

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After the Blues built a 20-7 halftime lead it looked like the home side would canter into their first full Super Rugby final since 2003, only for a spirited comeback by the Brumbies to close the gap to just one point.

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In the frantic final moments as the Blues tried to wind down the clock, an erratic pass left lock Luke Romano to clean up the scraps in the backfield. After being tackled and isolated with the Brumbies competing ferociously for the ball, ref Ben O’Keeffe let play go on.

Brumbies flanker Luke Reimer was first over the ball and looked to have secured a holding on penalty that would have given the Brumbies the chance to kick the game-winning penalty from 38-metres out, directly in front.

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What went wrong for the Hurricanes and Highlanders
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As it was the Blues lost the ball to the Brumbies, who played a few phases before flyhalf Noah Lolesio attempted a long range drop goal that got charged down by prop Ofa Tuungafasi, forcing the visitors back into their own half and out of range.

O’Keeffe’s call was labelled ‘gutless’ by fans on both sides of the ditch as even Kiwi’s agreed it was a clear holding on penalty to the Brumbies. One fan described it as a ‘stone cold penalty’ while another said it was ‘atrocious’ that the call was not given.

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Speaking to media after the match, the Brumbies were puzzled at the call and would be taking a second look at it on review. Coach Dan McKellar strongly implied he believed a penalty should have been given.

“There were a couple of decisions there that will be interesting to review,” Dan McKellar said.

“Luke Reimer appeared to be well and truly on the ball directly in front of the posts. Did you guys see that?

“I saw Luke Reimer on the ball, surviving clean out directly in front of the posts.

“When you’re playing at Eden Park and an Australian team hasn’t won here forever and a day, you need a bit of luck, don’t you? And we just didn’t get that tonight.”

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