Lady Luck deserts Lealiifano

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    The Brumbies win on Saturday night was overshadowed by a key injury to Christian Lealiifano (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    Christian Lealiifano’s suspected broken ankle took all the gloss off the Brumbies’ impressive 23-6 win over the Waratahs in Canberra last night.

    And gave Wallaby coach Robbie Deans an additional headache as to who will wear the number 10 jersey against Scotland and Wales.

    The jersey is a poisoned chalice with Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, and now Lealiifano all out of the frame on the injured list.

    It was a cruel blow for the 24-year-old Auckland-born Lealiifano, especially as the accident happened well after the final hooter had sounded, with the Brumbies home and hosed.

    It was a meaningless time to still be playing.

    That’s where Lady Luck played her cards, and she deserted Christian Lealiifano.

    So who does Deans turn to now? Kurtley Beale or Ben Lucas?

    Beale was brilliant against the Bulls on Friday night in his first hit-out of the season at 10. In a normal world Deans would far prefer to have Beale at 15, but his world has been turned upside down with injuries to key players.

    Once considered an outside possibility, Lucas can force his way into contention with an outstanding game against the Crusaders later today in Christchurch. That’s a big ask, but that’s what it will take to catch Deans’ attention.

    This Christchurch clash has taken on a new significance now the Brumbies have opened up a 10-point lead over the Reds on top of the Australian Conference. If the Reds lose, with the Brumbies having a bye next week for an assured four points, it will be all over red rover for the defending champions.

    Unless something dramatic happens over the final six rounds, the Brumbies deserve to top the local table and have a crack at the title.

    Last night they were all poise, never flustered. When centre Andrew Smith scored in the 45th minute, it was after a patient 15-phase assault on the Waratahs’ line – and inevitable.

    This new-look Brumbies lineup under South African World Cup-winning coach Jake White has been a revelation. The same can’t be said about Waratahs coach Michael Foley.

    The Waratahs enjoyed the bulk of possession last night (58%) but didn’t know how to use it, which translated to having the minor percentage of territory with 39. The Waratahs also won the rucks and mauls 128-71, ran 848 metres to 431, and missed 12 tackles to 28.

    The only stat the Waratahs were behind the Brumbies were the turnovers 21-14.

    On those figures how on earth did they lose?

    Foley has a major problem getting his charges to cope with the simple rugby basics of passing and support play. Many of the passes are too high or behind the receiver, destroying momentum. That’s kindergarten quality.

    Last night in the first half, Kane Douglas, Tatafa Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, and the skipper Benn Robinson all made clean breaks, try on, but either the pass went to ground, or the support went missing.

    Basic errors and opportunities wasted.

    Not so with the Brumbies, they are playing positive entertaining rugby and the fans are voting with their feet. Last night at Canberra Stadium a vocal 19,112 turned up, near capacity.

    The Brumbies deserve it.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (66)

    • May 6th 2012 @ 6:26am
      Fatty said | May 6th 2012 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      White now has same problem as Deans if L’fano has broken ankle….who to play at 5/8 as his backup/firstchoice Toomua is also injured. ?Coleman

      • May 6th 2012 @ 12:45pm
        bluerose said | May 6th 2012 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

        White should do a McQueen and try Mogg at n10

      • May 6th 2012 @ 6:27pm
        daryl said | May 6th 2012 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

        Coleman has to start at 10, thats his natural position

      • Columnist

        May 6th 2012 @ 7:35pm
        Brett McKay said | May 6th 2012 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

        Fatty, Zack Holmes will be an option too, played off the bench for the first couplf of games, looks a promising flyhalf..

        • May 6th 2012 @ 8:49pm
          bmwwilliams said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

          While i am gutted for Christian, this needn’t be the end of the Brumbies’ run.

          I’ve been very impressed with Robbie Coleman in his cameos this year. Zack Holmes has looked solid too, and is a quality goal kicker to boot.

          If the team has taught us anything this year, it’s that they’re not dependent on any one star individual – The next bloke in line can be trusted to step up when he’s needed.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 6:29am
      King of the Gorgonites said | May 6th 2012 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      Top crowd. Well done to the people of Canberra.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 7:13am
      Who Needs Melon said | May 6th 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      For the sake of the Wallabies, Australian rugby, the Brumbies aspirations and of course Christian himself, I’d much prefer the Brumbies to have lost that and Christian not be injured. Gutted.

      Good win by the Brumbies. I thought Fardy played really well.

    • May 6th 2012 @ 7:16am
      Best 10 said | May 6th 2012 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Speedy recovery Christian and please make sure that you change the photo !

      • May 6th 2012 @ 8:30am
        Justin said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        Yes agree Tyrone Smith is CL ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • May 6th 2012 @ 8:11am
      nickoldschool said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      KB at 10 and Mogg at n15 vs Scotland? Deans might opt for AAC at 15 though.

      Brumbies are so much better/quicker at off-loading, passing/recycling the ball than the Tahs. Their players often get the ball at speed while the Tahs stand still, get the ball and make a few metres… Arent these basic rugby skills?

      • May 6th 2012 @ 8:27am
        PeterK said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        totally agree re the backs. The Tah forwards offload, run angles, in support and offload better than their backs.

        A team Brumbies beat 8 players (the forwards) and 7 clowns.

        Tahs forwards were very good they did their job , majority possession, easily won the battle of the forwards, just the brumby backs are all class.

        Look at the difference now that giteau is gone and they listen to larkham.

      • Roar Pro

        May 6th 2012 @ 8:48am
        Grimmace said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        and the brumby backs run straight

    • May 6th 2012 @ 8:32am
      eagleJack said | May 6th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      The injury to Lealiifano made a poor night even worse. Tahs forwards were strong. Can’t help but think a Turner or Mitchell would have finished off the breaks of Douglas and TPN. Our current backs lack class.

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