ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has hailed his team’s composure after they held off a surging Fijian Drua to stretch their Super Rugby Pacific record to seven wins from eight this season.
Winger Ben O’Donnell bagged a hat-trick of tries as the Australian powerhouse came through a hard-fought battle in Canberra 43-28 on Friday evening.
It wasn’t easy, with Drua rallying from a 19-0 deficit, dominating possession in the final quarter as they pressed hard for the win.
Ultimately, the quality of a Brumbies side boasting experienced Wallabies props James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa paid off, with a penalty try stemming from their rolling maul proving decisive eight minutes from time.
O’Donnell made sure of the win with his third try in the dying stages.
“There’s good composure in the team at the moment isn’t there,” Larkham told reporters.
“We’ve seen that throughout the season so far, we’ve been in a tight tussle for eight rounds now with every team.
“Particularly when (Drua) get behind on the scoreboard, they’re gonna run it from anywhere and they were just good.2
Despite losing, Drua again proved they are dangerous side, having upset reigning champions Canterbury Crusaders earlier this year.
Larkham said it boded well for Fiji’s chances at the World Cup in France this year, where the Pacific nation is in Pool C alongside Australia, Wales, Georgia and Portugal.
“his competition for them is going to do them a world of good going into the World Cup,” he said. “They’re building really good combinations.”
Drua were spearheaded by skipper and fly-half Teti Tela, who said they were confident of being able to beat any team in the competition. They have managed three wins from seven so far. “I back my boys any day of the week to score tries,” he said. “It’s just the other side of the ball when we’ve got to hold our discipline and keep level heads”.