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What the Brumbies think of the 11th placed Crusaders

By AAP
The Crusaders celebrate a try scored by Sevu Reece during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on May 11, 2024, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Eyeing an all-important top-two finish, the ACT Brumbies are dismissing the Crusaders’ lowly spot on the ladder ahead of a nostalgic showdown with the 11-times Super Rugby kings.

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The Brumbies host the Crusaders on Saturday at GIO Stadium in the marquee fixture of Heritage Round.

It’s a huge occasion as all but one member of the Brumbies squad from their 2004 final triumph over the Crusaders gather in Canberra to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the club’s second and last title.

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Wallabies star Tom Wright says it’s important for Stephen Larkham’s class of 2024 to deliver a special performance as they try to emulate their heroes.

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Super Rugby Pacific
Brumbies
31 - 24
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Crusaders
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“They’re on the walls everywhere and there’s some of the most famous players from Australia, not just the Brumbies, but some of the biggest names,” Wright said.

“It’s awesome that we touch on that because they laid the foundations for the Brumbies following them.

“So the opportunity to connect with them would be nice, and obviously knowing that it was the Crusaders (who they beat), all that sort of stuff comes into it.

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“And it’s nice that we’re paying homage with the (retro) jersey and all that sort of stuff too – even the Canberra Milk-style training shirts are a nice touch.”

Two decades on and Wright’s mob are desperate to create their own history with a drought-breaking title.

“We all want to leave our mark on the place here,” Wright said.

Sitting third, four points behind the second-placed Hurricanes, the Brumbies probably need to win their last three games to squeeze into the top two and earn the chance of two home playoffs, and possibly even a final in the national capital.

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They can’t afford any slip-ups so are suitably wary of the Crusaders as the defending champions languish in second-last position.

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“Every week, whoever comes up against the Crusaders, the first thing they say is they aren’t actually taking any notice of where they’re sitting on the ladder,” Wright said.

“The strike power they’ve got and the respect they’ve earned over the years, they have the ability to hurt you whether they’re 20-nil up or 20-nil down.

“The Crusaders are a big club in this competition and have been for a long time.”

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