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'Reality check': Brumbies cop hiding from Chiefs in worst display ever under Larkham

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3rd March, 2024
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The Brumbies have been given an early season reality check, as Stephen Larkham’s men were thumped by the Chiefs 46-12 at AAMI Park on Sunday.

After last week’s convincing win over the Rebels, there were high hopes the Brumbies could follow the lead of the Waratahs by knocking over another New Zealand side.

It didn’t take long for that idea to blow up in smoke.

As the Brumbies looked like they arrived hoping for a Sunday afternoon cruise around Melbourne, the Chiefs turned up and put the heat on Larkham’s men from the outset.

The Chiefs led 25-7 at half-time and then scored another three tries in the second half.

Damian McKenzie starred behind a dominant forward pack. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The only positive of the dire afternoon was another impressive display from speedster Corey Toole, who scored a stunning double.

But other than that, it was an ugly performance where the Brumbies lost the physical battle at the breakdown and contact zone in the worst performance ever under Larkham.

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It was also a reminder of life after Laurie Fisher, with the Brumbies’ failings an area that the man known as ‘Lord’ usually had them always up for.

“Disappointing performance from us,” Wallaby James Slipper said. “If you don’t win the collision, and you turn the ball over as much as we did to a quality team, you’re going to find out – and we found out today.”

Making matters worse, Wallaby Cadeyrn Neville, who was introduced off the bench, was forced off late after copping a huge hit from Jarad Proffit to the jaw that led to the Chiefs replacement prop earning an upgraded red card.

Brumbies skipper Ryan Lonergan bemoaned his side’s inability to get into the contest, as they missed 32 tackles, conceded 10 linebreaks and lost three lineouts.

“We missed the jump from the start today,” Lonergan said.

“They had the tempo all over us. They continued with it all the game and we could never scramble any momentum back. We couldn’t build pressure.

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“They seemed to be able to maintain their ball really well with quick ruck speed and we were the complete opposite.

“It’s definitely a reality check.”

The Brumbies’ woes started from the outset as Nick Frost spilt the opening kick off.

While the Brumbies stole the lineout, their ill-discipline and the missed tackles started soon after.

It led to Damian McKenzie banging over an early three-pointer, before Etene Nanai-Seturo spotted props Sefo Kautai and Slipper and burned them both as the winger put his halfback Xavier Roe away for the opening try in the eighth minute.

The Brumbies responded quickly through Toole, as the Australian sevens winger put in in a chip and chase and got the perfect bounce to score.

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But the Brumbies continued to fall off tackles and the Chiefs made them pay, as Nanai-Seturo and McKenzie scored two slick tries.

While the Brumbies were the first to score after half-time when Toole crossed in the 58th minute, the Chiefs then made the Australians pay for some more horrible defence as replacements Josh Ioane and Cortez Ratima scored three tries in 12 minutes to blow open the scoreboard.

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