'We're not intimidated or scared': Why the winless Australians shouldn't be discounted from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman just yet
The Melbourne Rebels’ 50-3 defeat to the Blues on Saturday highlighted the gulf between the two rugby nations.
But gutsy displays from the Brumbies and Force showed not all hope is lost for Australian sides.
The Brumbies were down 31-17 against the all-conquering Crusaders with just 10 minutes remaining before scoring two late tries to take the game to the death.
Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio had the chance to secure a draw with an after-the-siren conversion attempt, but narrowly missed.
Just hours later, the Force also rallied from 20-7 down against the Chiefs to be within touching distance of victory.
A try from Force flyhalf Domingo Miotti after the final siren closed the margin to one point, and he had the chance to win it with his conversion attempt six metres in from the sideline.
Miotti’s kick faded to the right, ensuring the Chiefs escaped with a 20-19 win.
The Brumbies will meet the Chiefs in Waikato on Saturday, and coach Dan McKellar won’t be satisfied with anything less than a win.
“We’re not happy with romantic losses,” McKellar said.
“We take confidence out of (the display against the Crusaders). But we came here with the mindset to win the game. We’re not intimidated or scared.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 16, 2021
The Force took plenty of confidence out of their performance against the Chiefs, with stand-in captain Kyle Godwin believing the platform has been set for a successful period for the club.
“We’ve got such great internal belief within the squad and we are starting to see that slowly through our games,” Godwin said.
“Obviously, we haven’t had the result the last two games with the semi-final (against the Brumbies) and then the loss to the Chiefs.
“But there’s huge belief within the squad that we can deliver and we can be a successful powerhouse team one day.”
The Force host the Highlanders in Perth on Friday night.
“We saw how much pressure they put the Reds under,” Godwin said.
“They’ve got a great tactical kicking game and they’ve got some great coaches there with Tony Brown, who will have a few tricks up his sleeve.”
The marquee match of round two will pit the two domestic champion sides against each other, the Reds taking on the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
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