The Brumbies aren’t pushing the panic button just yet, despite slumping to a record low in Canberra and losing their spot atop Super Rugby’s Australian conference.
The Crusaders steamrolled the Brumbies 40-14 at GIO Stadium on Sunday, their biggest ever loss at home – surpassing by one point their previous worst defeat to the Chiefs just three weeks ago.
It was only made worse with potential injuries to co-captain Stephen Moore (calf) and winger Joe Tomane (ankle), with both Wallabies stars to be assessed on Monday.
For the visitors, who earned a bonus point, it was their seventh consecutive victory and sixth straight against the Brumbies dating back to 2009.
It sends Stephen Larkham’s men (5-3) back into the middle of the Australasian Group, one behind new Australian conference leaders the Melbourne Rebels, who beat the Cheetahs on Friday to go 5-3 for the season.
They’ve now lost two of their last three, conceding 40 points or more in each and both to Kiwi sides, with last week’s win over the NSW Waratahs the only bright side.
And they face a tough trip to Invercargill in New Zealand, to play reigning champions the Highlanders on Saturday.
“The way the scores have racked up, the 48 points that the Chiefs scored against us was a record here at GIO Stadium was disappointing, and then again tonight,” Larkham said.
“There’s certainly areas we need to work on.
“But we certainly don’t want to panic and read too much into (it).
“The ladder is irrelevant, it’s how we play. If we get our preparation right and we perform the way we want to play, we’ll look at the ladder at the end of the season.”
Errors proved the Brumbies downfall, with the classy Crusaders taking advantage of almost every turnover.
At least four of their six tries came from Brumbies mistakes.
“We just made mistakes and they capitalised on turnovers like they’ve done all year,” Moore said.
“We spoke about it before the game, how important that was and I guess that’s one of the most disappointing things, that we didn’t execute it.
“For us now, we’ve lost two out of the last three so the next game is so important for us.”