Australia's misery continues against New Zealand teams with the Brumbies heading back to Canberra knowing they probably should have won in Dunedin.

Should have because they had the more powerful scrum, the better of the breakdown and more than enough possession.

But what they lacked was the clinical edge, the ability to be accurate once they had worked their way into Highlanders' territory and ultimately, self-confidence.

They failed to convert the pressure they exerted in the 20 minutes after the break into points and it hurt them. They had the Highlanders wriggling and jiggling, looking a little nervous and disorientated but they couldn't finish them off.


The Brumbies couldn't score when they desperately needed to. They were 15-10 down and just one score may have unlocked the game for them, but that one score evaded them.

And it evaded them because the Highlanders defended superbly.

It was almost as if they decided that the best ploy was to let the Brumbies have the ball and they would pressure them with their resilience and tenacity.

It worked and maybe it was no surprise that the defining moment came when the Highlanders were reduced to 14 men.

Lima Sopoaga was in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle and that seemed to stiffen the Highlanders' resolve. They went into full scale aggressive, defensive mode and that led to the Brumbies throwing a huge pass across the backline that Waisake Naholo picked off to run the length of the field to make the score 22-10.

That was the killer blow. The Brumbies had been dominating most aspects. They had spent a long time inside Highlanders' territory and had attacked, attacked and attacked only to see Naholo score the only points during the period of numerical advantage.

That was the Brumbies' moment. If they had gone ahead midway through the second half that could well have been it. But no, the Highlanders dug in, saw out the siege and then managed to score again a few minutes later to give the scoreboard a slightly misleading look.

There was not much between the two teams at all. The Highlanders were more clinical and more able to convert their chances but they were second best in plenty of areas.
The Highlanders biggest problem was their scrum. It was, somewhat curiously given the opposition were Australian, under all sort of pressure.


The Brumbies owned them there in fact. They used their scrum as their central weapon to build their attacking plays and dent the confidence of the Highlanders.

They didn't manage to use it, though, to score enough points and it was a harsh lesson for the Brumbies.

Whatever works in the Australian Conference doesn't always yield much against New Zealand teams. No points are easy to come by.

Pressure in itself doesn't mean much because the Highlanders especially are so resilient and so good at absorbing it that just because they are scrambling doesn't mean they will open up.

It was a good effort by the Brumbies but the wait for an Australian team to beat one from New Zealand continues.

Highlanders 43 (L. Sopoaga, B. Smith (2), W. Naholo, S. Frizell, F. Smith tries; L. Sopoaga pen, 4 cons; B. Smith con)
Brumbies 17 (I. Naisarani, J. Powell tries; W. Hawera pen; C. Leali'ifano 2 cons)

We catch up with The O'Dea brothers and the Mens Bowls team as well as cover our kiwi sports back home