Brumbies

Brumbies must smarten up their game : Mortlock

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The Stormers’ ability to blank out the Brumbies’ multi-phase playing pattern was the defining factor in their Super14 20-10 victory at Newlands on Saturday.


Brumbies skipper Stirling Mortlock said after the match he was frustrated – and annoyed, with the way his side struggled to execute their game plan.


“They held our ball-carrier up in the tackle, and then either turned us over or stifled our momentum at the ensuing phases,” said Mortlock.


“When we are good enough to execute our play through the phases we play well. “If we don’t, we tend to struggle.”


Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher said that his side struggled to find momentum, given that his side could not come up with a counter for the slow ruck ball that his side had to work with.


“The Stormers just slowed us down at the rucks,” said Fisher.


“We clocked some yardage in the close channels but it was difficult, and more so when they presented numbers on defence. It just proves that slow ruck ball presents problems and it certainly was a telling factor in the game.”


However, Fisher felt his charges did well to pick up the pieces in the second half.


“We were down 20 points in a 14-minute spell and at that stage we could have said ‘that is it’ as far our season goes and put our cue on the rack, but we fought back courageously,” said Fisher.


“The Stormers took their foot off the peddle and were getting tired (in the second half). My advice to the team was to try to get hand on ball and get position.”


Both Fisher and Mortlock refused to comment on the controversial first half penalty try awarded by New Zealand referee Steve Walsh to the Stormers.


The referee ruled that Stormers centre Gcobani Bobo was illegally denied a chance to score a try. The alleged obstruction was by Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano seconds before Bobo was ranging up on the outside to take a scoring pass from his fellow centre Jean de Villiers, at a time when the unguarded tryline was in sight.


The move started when De Villiers out jumped two Brumbies players to catch the ball from a kick-off and dashed some 50 metres down the grandstand touchline.


“Off that kick-off that try pretty much broke our backs,” said Mortlock.


“We did not get the rub of the green tonight. These things happen in footy.


“Sometimes decisions can help you out or go against you. To my team’s credit it didn’t sway us from our game.”


Fisher said rugby was an 80-minute game and there were many opportunities to score. “I really don’t know that games come down to one decision. We gave up a soft try on a ball watch.”


Both Mortlock and Fisher shared their thoughts about the Brumbies’ next fixture against the Bulls at Loftus on Friday. “We’ll dust ourselves off,” said Fisher.


“We’ll try and smarten up certain areas of our game. I’ll be expecting no less an effort at Loftus and front up to a game of rugby. “We’re going to review our performance hard and look forward to the Bulls game,” said Mortlock.


“We’ll be very positive and are determined to finish the season well.”


Sapa – Super14.com

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