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'We've got the game to beat both the Crusaders and Blues': Brumbies confident despite loss

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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The Brumbies looked to have captured a tight 19-18 win when Noah Lolesio slotted his conversion to give the home side the lead with under a minute to go, only to be undone by the Blues last possession.

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After working the ball into position in front of the posts, the Blues received a penalty advantage that was unneeded as first five Beauden Barrett stepped up to kick a drop goal and take a 21-19 win.

The last second loss stung for the Brumbies but head coach Dan McKellar is confident he has the squad to top the best of the Kiwi teams based on what he has seen over the last couple of weeks.

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“Whilst we’ve lost both games, we know that we’ve got the game to beat both the Crusaders and Blues,” McKellar said.

“Looks like they will finish top two, so we’ve got plenty to take out of it.

“We’ve just got to review this, park it, and move on, I’m just shattered. I thought our effort and attitude deserved better.

The Brumbies made five times as many tackles as the Blues in the first half as they withstood a ton of pressure, only conceding a try in extra time of the first half.

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Beauden Barrett scored from a blindside scrum play running into a wide gap from close range which took the lead 8-7 going into the sheds.

“We held them up at least three times in the first half, as I said I couldn’t be prouder of our group.”

McKellar lamented being on the wrong side of a 16-5 penalty count at home that he described as ‘tough to take’, but the Brumbies were able to withstand it and were ‘twenty seconds away’ from a gutsy win.

Captain Allan Alaalatoa praised his side’s effort on defence to hold out the Blues for so long under so much pressure defending their own line.

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“We would defend for so many phases, and then we will hold them up, and that’s a win,” captain Allan Alaalatoa said.

“And then we go again and hold them up again, and that’s a win.

“I think that whole first half we were just in our D-zone, and they scored one try at the end. It was a huge effort in terms of defence across the whole board.”

The Brumbies started with three straight wins over New Zealand sides by beating the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Chiefs but have stumbled over the last two weeks at home to the Crusaders and Blues.

That now leaves them third on the ladder behind the 12-1 Blues and 10-3 Crusaders with one round remaining before the playoffs.

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