Brumbies 24 Cheetahs 23
It's not breaking news as such, but there was confirmation in Canberra last night that neither the Brumbies nor the Cheetahs are going to win the title.
Asked to play in searing heat, they at least gave it their all. But sadly, even the combined efforts of both teams didn't come to much.
The Brumbies, having kicked a last-minute penalty to salvage the game, may think differently, sitting as they do on a perfect record so far. But they'd be fooling themselves if they thought they were in good shape. They will meet tougher opponents than the Cheetahs in the coming weeks and won't stand a chance unless they can make some core shifts in execution and intensity.
The Brumbies have brought in the high profile, and most likely highly paid, Jake White to rebuild a dynasty that started to collapse at the end of 2004. White is on a four-year contract and he'll need all that time to transform the Brumbies judging by their performance yesterday.
They were inadequate at so many core parts of the game, it is hard to know where to begin. Probably the breakdown where they were wiped by the speed and accuracy of the Cheetahs forwards generally and Heinrich Brussow specifically.
When the Brumbies come up against the New Zealand sides, they will be toast if they offer such limp resistance in what is now the key area of the game.
Still, they have won three matches and they showed character and resilience to claw back after falling 23-10 shortly after halftime. That, at least, was something, as was their scrummaging which is the only area they really had dominance.
Brumbies 24 (H. Speight, P. McCabe tries; C. Lealiifano con, 4 pens), Cheetahs 23 (W. le Roux, T. de Bruyn tries; J. Goosen 2 cons, 3 pens).