THERE appeared no talk from the ACT Brumbies that the initial encounter for 2020 in the suburban surrounds of Viking Park was just a preseason trial.
That was abundantly clear with four minutes left on the clock Tuesday night (February 9) whose chilly Canberra conditions resembled that of the real season.
Down by two points and in good field position to cross the line, the Brumbies elected to take a safer penalty goal option.
What happened to perfecting running the ball under pressure the crowd asked among the number of bemusing moans in the stands.
There was no Super Rugby points on the line, but Ryan Lonergan’s sailing kick put the home side back in front 29-28 and onward towards victory against the Western Force.
Then it was all about defence from there on.
There was a chance for the Force to cross the line after the final whistle, but typically of most early hit-outs handling errors proved costly in the match that had four tries apiece.
The two teams will clash again in the season proper in 10 days’ time at HBF Park in Perth.
A Brumbies second-string side will play Melbourne Rebels that same Friday night in Albury.