Brumbies top Australian conference; will host the Highlanders in Quarter Final

Matt Toomua scored one and had another disallowed in the Brumbies’ win of the Force last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Brumbies did enough to beat the Western Force 24-10 at Canberra Stadium last night to top the Australian conference, and set up a home Quarter Final against the Highlanders next Friday night.

But it’s fair to say it was a far from convincing win, and they have a massive week of preparations and improvement ahead of them to prevail against a red-hot Highlanders next week. Here’s all my post-match interviews and the ABC Grandstand highlights and wrap from last night…

Audio Highlights – Brumbies thump Hurricanes in season opener

Brumbies' Argentinean scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli scored his first Super Rugby try last night, in the Brumbies' big win. Image: ABC Grandstand

Brumbies’ Argentinean scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli scored his first Super Rugby try last night, in the team’s big win over the Hurricanes. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand: The Brumbies have started their 2016 Super Rugby season in grand style, smashing the Hurricanes seven tries to one, 52-10 in Canberra last night. Check out the full set of ABC Grandstand highlights and all my post-match interviews here below…

Farewell to the greatest of them all

Richie McCaw holds aloft the Rugby World Cup late last month, after what turned out to be his last ever game. As decent a last game as any! Image: ABC Grandstand

It’s been a rough 24 hours for New Zealand. The news of the great Jonah Lomu’s sudden passing on Wednesday morning certainly caught NZ, and indeed, the entire rugby world by surprise. It was and is incredibly sad news.

Richie McCaw’s retirement announcement today wasn’t much of a surprise, but the thought of not playing the game any more will certainly take some getting used to. And there’s no real sadness, only celebration, because McCaw will go down in history as one of, if not the greatest player ever to lace up a boot. I’ve certainly got no qualms in saying he was the best player I’ve ever seen, and I count myself as privileged to have seen him from as close as I have over the last few years, for both the Crusaders and the All Blacks.

And from that point, it was certainly a privilege to talk to him earlier this year, after his last ever game for the Crusaders, live on ABC Grandstand, after their win over the Brumbies in the final round of the 2015 Super Rugby season..

PM’s XI already! The cricket summer is here..

New Zealand celebrate a wicket last night at Manuka Oval, in their 102-run win over the Prime Minister's XI. Image ABC Grandstand

New Zealand celebrate a wicket last night at Manuka Oval, in their 102-run win over the Prime Minister’s XI. Image ABC Grandstand

New Zealand have won the annual Prime Minister’s XI tour match in Canberra yesterday and last night, and it marked a day of firsts for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it marked the first game at international level where the new pink Kookaburra ball was used under lights (Southern Stars spinner Erin Osborne is telling Jim Maxwell all about it, below left), and it also saw me undertake my first stints as a ball-by-ball commentator for ABC Grandstand (below right, with ACT Comets star batsman, Jono Dean, who was also on debut). All feedback has been positive thus far!

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