The Highlanders hopes of going back-to-back in Super Rugby remain alive – just. In a far from polished performance, the Highlanders did enough to topple top Australian team the Brumbies 15-9 in the quarterfinal game in Canberra.
They have giant hearts and incredible resilience. They had to cling on to win. Really hang on tight when the Brumbies had them in all sorts of trouble at scrum time and looked they couldn’t fail to score.
The Brumbies were playing for the penalty try and when that wouldn’t come, they bashed away through the forwards for what felt like an eternity.
The tension was incredible. The Brumbies needed not only the try but the conversion, too
But the Highlanders didn’t break. They nearly did. They creaked and moaned but they held form to take their place in the semifinal.
It was no less than they deserved on a horrible night. About the worst the Australian capital could muster. The rain was the biggest problem, almost impossible to read a reporter says.
Typically such wild conditions can be a great leveler as there is, usually, ample reward for doing nothing more than hoisting the ball high up the middle of the field. But the Brumbies over did it – certainly in the first half – and they just didn’t do it well.
Their kicking game lacked thought and accuracy – it was more hit and hope. They also seemed to be oblivious to the fact that Ben Smith was in his element. Everything the Brumbies put his way, he caught and dealt with.
Here are the full match statistics of Highlanders vs Brumbies..