History made but job’s not done: White

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 18: Brumbies players celebrate victory in the International tour match between the ACT Brumbies and the British & Irish Lions at Canberra Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Photo: Mark MetcalfeThe ACT Brumbies have slammed suggestions they faced an undermanned British and Irish Lions squad, declaring their historic win deserves its place in rugby folklore and can spur them to the Super Rugby title.

The Brumbies earned a place in rugby history when they caused a major boilover by beating the Lions 14-12 at Canberra Stadium and becoming the first Australian provincial team to beat the tourists in 42 years.

It was a perfect build-up to the Brumbies’ championship bid, which begins when Super Rugby resumes next month.

The intense battle with the Lions will give the players valuable experience of what it takes to win finals rugby.

The Brumbies will be further rewarded on Thursday when five players – Ben Mowen, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Christian Lealiifano and Pat McCabe – are included in the Wallabies’ 23-man squad for the first Test in Brisbane.

The Lions called in reinforcements for their match against the Brumbies to shield their best line-up for the Test on Saturday night.

But they still boasted almost 600 Test caps compared with the Brumbies’ 28.

The Brumbies were also missing a dozen regular stars but showed courage and determination to shock the Lions and deliver a psychological blow leading into the three-Test series against the Wallabies.

ACT centre Andrew Smith insisted the Brumbies’ victory should not be overshadowed by the perception the Lions’ line-up was weakened.

”To be honest, they shouldn’t be looking at that. That was a classy Lions team, they had plenty of Test

caps and international stars,” Smith said.

”We were ready to play and we went into the game to win, not just compete.

”We’ve been leading the Super Rugby table, we’re definitely one of the teams to beat and that’s what we’re aiming for – we’re aiming to win the comp. Hopefully we’re good enough, we think we are.

”This Lions game couldn’t be better timing but we know the job is still ahead.”

Wallabies hopeful Peter Kimlin proved a pest at the lineout, while props Scott Sio and Ruan Smith powered through 80 minutes of work against a Lions rotation of four international front-rowers.

Colby Faingaa was outstanding at the breakdown and Lions coach Warren Gatland said the Brumbies delivered a ”reality check” just days from the first Test.

The Lions, made up of the best players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, have not lost to a provincial team since their 1997 tour of South Africa, when they fell to Northern Transvaal.

The last time they lost to an Australian provincial side was against Queensland in 1971.

The two-point win was a perfect boost for the Brumbies as they prepare for their first Super Rugby playoff campaign in almost a decade. Making it even more impressive is that the Brumbies were missing 12 players who would have been in the starting XV.

Mowen, Moore, Alexander, Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane and McCabe are all in Wallabies camp, while David Pocock, George Smith, Ruaidhri Murphy, Dan Palmer, Fotu Auelua and Nic White are all injured.

Brumbies coach Jake White said the wave of euphoria could lift his team for a title tilt.

”Can you tell me the Lions team that played against Queensland in 1971? I don’t care what people say, the bottom line is [the Brumbies’ win] is part of history,” White said.

”In 50 years’ time people aren’t going to know who was in the Lions team and who wasn’t.

”They could have picked whoever they wanted, they picked a team they thought could beat the Brumbies.”

The Brumbies have secured a home final and will play their last regular-season match against the Western Force on July 13.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.