A ‘passive’ opening half hour ended the Brumbies’ chances of beating the Jaguares on Sunday, coach Dan McKellar says.
The Brumbies found themselves 13 points down before the 30-minute mark in Canberra, a margin they were never able to mow down, despite an improved second half effort.
A visibly frustrated McKellar said his side was far from aggressive from the get go, leaving itself too big a job to turn things around.
“I thought overall our first 30 minutes was passive, just wasn’t good enough,” he said.
“The last 10 minutes of the first half we managed to get possession, build pressure, maintain pressure and we scored two tries.
“That’s the message we’ve been speaking about and something we’ll continue to talk about.”
Though they escaped with a losing bonus point, the Brumbies were left to rue the missed chance to keep themselves in contention for the top Australian conference spot.
“We had an opportunity tonight with a few other teams in the conference (losing),” McKellar said.
“We don’t talk about that at all but now the game’s done it’s an opportunity lost.”
A yellow card midway through the second half gave the Brumbies an opening to turn momentum their way but co-captain Sam Carter could only lament the fact that the Jaguares won even that 10 minutes.
“All we needed to do was keep possession, kick it out and play the way we wanted to play but there was times we didn’t kick it out, put ourselves under more pressure and didn’t execute when he had to,” he said.
Hearing McKellar lash their early effort stung Carter, but he couldn’t deny the suggestion.
“It does and we even spoke about it before the game,” he said.
“We knew they were going to come out pretty hot,m passionate, start fast but we knew if we weathered that – but we need to be better in that first 20 minutes.
“There was too many mistakes, even getting out of our own end, we made a few mistakes with the lineout so you can’t give teams that kind of opportunity and we paid for it in the last 20 minutes when we were down by eight points.”
The Brumbies take on the Crusaders in Canberra next weekend but McKellar said he wasn’t sure whether he’d be swinging the axe next weekend.