Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen says his side’s 28-23 win over grudge rivals the Waratahs was right up there with the best of them.
As far as special wins go, bringing the NSW Waratahs back down to earth with a thud ranks right up there, according to Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen.
Mowen overcame a torrid build up to Saturday’s match at Canberra Stadium to lead his side to a brutal 28-23 Super Rugby win over their grudge rivals.
He was disappointed earlier in the week after false rumours accusing him of dobbing in Wallabies teammates over the Dublin drinking saga resurfaced, and may have been cut even deeper by the fact that no one in the Waratahs – his former team – spoke out to publicly support him.
The added spice gave the rivalry a big kick, and while the Brumbies beat the British and Irish Lions and reached the Super Rugby final last year, Mowen didn’t hesitate in ranking the win over the previously undefeated Tahs up with their finest victories of recent times.
Especially so given the Brumbies played almost the entire final 20 minutes a man down as two players were sin-binned.
“There have been some very special wins for us as a side. But that would be right up there,” Mowen said.
“It is very rewarding for us, and it’s only rewarding because we know they’re a quality side.”
Matt Toomua produced a man-of-the-match performance at five eighth, controlling the game with great direction and attacking nous.
But it was his defence to limit the ball getting to attacking ace Israel Folau that really shone, repeatedly launching himself into the ribs of Waratahs playmakers Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley.
The win came at a cost for the Brumbies however, with winger Henry Speight suffering a broke jaw which is expected to sideline him for several weeks.
The victory lifts the Brumbies to third overall and top of the Australian conference, although the Waratahs trail by just two points with one extra game to play.
Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis said the loss wouldn’t deter his side from aiming for a top two finish overall.
Meanwhile, the eighth-placed Reds literally let their chance of topping the Australian conference slip through their fingers in a 35-20 loss to the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning AEDT.
The Queenslanders threatened to cap a comeback with victory, but dropped the ball on three seperate occasions with nothing but an open try line in front.
“The opportunities that you get, you need to capitalise on,” Reds coach Richard Graham said.
“That was probably the difference.”
Reds prop Ben Daley will miss next week’s match against the Lions after being sent home on a flight to get scans on his knee.
The Western Force’s (seventh) 31-29 bonus point victory over the Highlanders was soured by the citing of No.8 Ben McCalman for a 73rd minute lifting tackle on prop Kane Hames.
The Melbourne Rebels (13th) jagged a much-needed late bonus point in their 25-19 loss to the Crusaders, while the Hurricanes piled on 60 points against the hapless Cheetahs, the Chiefs downed the Stormers, and the Lions outclassed the Blues.