With the Reds missing a chance to go top of the Australian conference, the Brumbies had a chance to extend their lead with a crucial match against the Crusaders.
With Robbie Deans watching on in the crowd, Brumbies players had their chance to impress the Wallabies coach in what was George Smith’s record breaking 137th appearance for the Brumbies.
The Crusaders rolled into town for the first time in four years and showed early intent with the majority of possession in the opening minutes.
That early dominance was wiped out after a Dan Carter pass was intercepted by Matt Toomua who ran untouched for the opening try of the match after six minutes.
The Brumbies extended their lead to ten points shortly after with a penalty goal to Christian Lealiifano.
The Crusaders weren’t too concerned and got on the board themselves with a Dan Carter penalty as they started to dominate proceedings.
They attacked the Brumbies through their tight five with a series of pick and drives that resulted in being held up over the line on two occasions.
The Brumbies couldn’t hold out them out and scrum half Andy Ellis dived over in the left hand corner and with Carter’s conversion, the scores were level.
The home side had their fair share of chances to add to their score but handling errors and determined defence from the Crusaders ensured the scores remained level at the break.
The second half had more of the same from the Crusaders. They were able to grab the lead with a Zac Guildford try after a well worked move.
The visitors kept their defensive effort up and were dominant in contact and able to hold up Brumbies ball runners on numerous occasions.
Dan Carter added two more penalties to keep the Brumbies out of reach as they were after their first win in Canberra since 2003.
And that task was helped after replacement Israel Dagg finished off a brilliant counter attacking move off the back of a Brumbies turnover inside the Crusaders 22.
The Brumbies had one last effort in them with captain Ben Mowen diving over to give them a slight chance of a bonus point, with the score at 30-20.
And with just minutes remaining, the Brumbies were awarded a penalty for an off the ball tackle. Christian Lealiifano landed his third penalty of the night to leave the margin at seven points in the Crusaders favour.
The Game Changer
Israel Dagg finished off a brilliant counter attacking move in the 72nd minute to put the game out of the Brumbies reach.
The G&GR MOTM
Dan Carter – Despite an early mistake, he showed why he’s the All Black number 10.
With Robbie Deans watching on, there would be some disappointed Brumbies players who were out to impress the Wallabies coach.
Score & Scorers
[one_half last=”no”]BRUMBIES: 23
Tries: Toomua, Mowen
Conversions: Lealiifano, Toomua
Penalties: Lealiifano 3
[one_half last=”yes”]CRUSADERS: 30
Tries: Ellis, Guildford, Dagg
Conversions: Carter 3
Penalties: Carter 3