The Brumbies (for sponsorship reasons known as the Plus500 Brumbies and formerly known as the ACT Brumbies) are an Australian professional rugby union football team competing in the Super Rugby. The team is based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and named for the wild horses which inhabit the capital's hinterland. The team represents the ACT and southern New South Wales (NSW) regions.
|Location||Canberra, ACT, Australia|
|Region||Australian Capital Territory, southern New South Wales|
|Ground(s)||GIO Stadium (Capacity: 25,011)|
1st (Australian Conference)
The Brumbies were formed in 1996 to provide a third Australian franchise for the newly formed Super 12 (now Super Rugby) competition. It was predicted that the Brumbies, made up of so-called 'reject' – players not wanted by the other two teams – would perform poorly. Since then, they have enjoyed more success than all the other Australian teams combined, reaching six finals and winning two.
The Brumbies play in navy blue, white and gold kits. The team plays at GIO Stadium (formerly known as Bruce Stadium and Canberra Stadium) in Canberra and is currently coached by former Wallabies fly-half Stephen Larkham. Larkham shared the coaching duties with Laurie Fisher as Director of Football, after the unexpected departure of Jake White in September 2013, who had two years left on his contract, until Fisher left to become head coach of Gloucester Rugby after the 2014 season.
Rugby union football has a long history in the region around what is now Canberra. The British Isles opened their 1899 tour of Australia with a match in Goulburn. However, it was not until 1938 that the ACT Rugby Union was finally established.
Early years of rugby in ACT
Four clubs made up the first local competition; University, Easts, RMC and Norths. Also in 1938, a representative ACT side faced off against the All Blacks, losing 5 to 56.
The first international victory for an ACT representative side was in 1973, when they defeated Tonga 17 points to six. In 1978 an ACT side defeated Wales, who were Five Nations champions at the time. ACT had trailed at half time, 6 to 16, but came back and won with a penalty kick in the final moments of the match.
The ACT representative side became known as the Kookaburras in 1989. ACT defeated NSW 44 to 28 at Sydney's Concord Oval in 1994, which led the way for the ACT to become a franchise, and be included in the new professional international Super 12 competition, alongside the Reds and Waratahs. ACT became Australia's third provincial team in the new competition, known officially as the ACT Brumbies.
Super 12 era: 1996–2005
In the inaugural Super 12 season, under coach Rod Macqueen, the Brumbies finished fifth on the table after the regular season, narrowly missing out on a finals position. The following season was even more successful as the Brumbies entered the 1997 Super 12 Final, but lost to the Auckland Blues.
Eddie Jones took over as head coach in 1998, but the Brumbies fell to tenth place on the 1998 season ladder. However, the following season saw a big improvement, as they finished fifth for the second time in their Super rugby history, just missing out on the finals. In 2000, the Brumbies made it to the 2000 Super 12 Final for the second time, and were actually hosting it as well. They were however beaten by the Crusaders, losing 19 to 20.
In 2001 they backed up their good performance in 2000 to again enter the final, this time against the Sharks from Durban. The Brumbies won the match, and in doing so, became the first team outside of New Zealand to be crowned Super 12 champions (and the only such team in the Super 12 era; the Bulls of South Africa won the 2007 Super 14). That year the British Lions also came to Australia, and played a match against the Brumbies. The combined strength of four nations was pitted against the Brumbies Second XV with the tourists winning by just two points, 30 to 28.
David Nucifora took over as head coach at the Brumbies for the 2002 season. Under Nucifora the Brumbies entered their third Super 12 final in a row, again against the Crusaders who had defeated them in the 2000 final. The Crusaders won the match, 31 to 13. The following season, going for four straight final appearances, the Brumbies fell just short, being knocked out in the semi-finals by the Blues. They did however go on to beat Fiji and Tonga later that year.
In 2004 the Brumbies finished at the top of the Super 12 table, six points clear of the next best team. The Brumbies hosted the 2004 Super 12 Final as well, and were to face the Crusaders once again. Though this time, the Brumbies won, 47 to 38 in front of a record crowd at Canberra Stadium. During the off-season the ACT Rugby Union was renamed the ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union, and the name of the team was changed to Brumbies Rugby.
Laurie Fisher took over as coach for the 2005 season. After an undefeated run in the early stages of the season, injuries began to mount up and the Brumbies eventually finished fifth, missing out on the finals. The following year the competition was expanded to the Super 14, introducing one new team from Australia and one new team from South Africa.
Recent times: 2006–present
In 2006 the Brumbies finished sixth, missing out on the finals by 1 point, having never dropped out of the top four all season prior to the last round. Later that year the Brumbies played in the inaugural Australian Provincial Championship (APC). In their opening game they defeated the NSW Waratahs 14–13 at Viking Park. This win snapped a 3-game losing streak against their traditional rivals. They then went on to defeat the Western Force 25–10, again at Viking Park. Despite narrowly losing, 20–19, to the Queensland Reds on the road in Brisbane, the Brumbies won the right to face the Reds in the final back in Viking Park. They won this more comfortably, 42–17, securing the inaugural APC.
The side failed to make the playoffs between 2007 and 2011, during which time they finished between 5th and 13th on the ladder. After a succession of coaches over the same period, including Laurie Fisher, Andy Friend and Tony Rea, former South Africa coach Jake White took over as coach of the side in April 2011, signing a four-year deal with the club. However, he was granted a release from his contract in September 2013, with two years left on his four-year contract.
In 2012, the Brumbies became the first Australian Super Rugby team to host an international fixture against a touring side. On 12 June, the Brumbies played Wales at Canberra Stadium while Wales was on their 2012 Summer tour. Wales won 25–15.
The Brumbies returned to form in the 2012, finishing second in the Australian conference, and seventh in the overall standings, narrowly missing the final-six and a place in the quarter finals.
In 2013, the Brumbies and the other Australian super rugby teams played the British and Irish Lions as part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. The Brumbies earned a hard-fought 14–12 victory, the first defeat of the Lions on their tour.
The Brumbies continued their strong performances in 2013 by finishing first in the Australian conference and 3rd on the ladder to make their first finals appearance since they won the Super title in 2004. After defeating the Cheetahs in a close home final 15 – 13, the Brumbies travelled to Pretoria to face the Bulls and again achieved victory, 23–26. The team had to travel from South Africa to New Zealand to meet the Waikato Chiefs for the championship final the following week, and the Chiefs proved to be too strong, winning the final 27–22.
Following the end of the Super Rugby season the Brumbies sent a squad captained by Robbie Coleman to the invitational World Club 7s in England. The Brumbies won the series, defeating the Auckland Blues 17–14 in the final. Henry Speight was named the player of the tournament.
During the 2017 Super Rugby season, the Brumbies were one of three Australian franchises threatened with contraction when the Australian Rugby Union prevailed upon competition organiser SANZAAR to reduce the number of Australian sides in the competition from five to four after that season. The ARU later announced that the Brumbies would remain in the competition.
Colours and name
The Brumbies traditional colours are navy blue, white and gold. Their primary jersey is navy with gold trim, with navy shorts and socks. The alternate jersey is gold and yellow, generally worn for away matches. The Brumbies also have a traditional jersey which is used for games against fellow Australian Super 12 foundation teams NSW and Queensland, which reflects the original home jersey worn between 1996 and 2005. This features a navy 'saddle' across the shoulders and white below chest level, with gold trim. The primary jersey sponsor is the Plus500.
The team is named after the wild horses which inhabit Canberra's hinterland. The Brumbies mascot is Brumby Jack. The Brumbies were originally known as the ACT Brumbies when they were accepted into the Super 12 for its inaugural season in 1996. Shortly after the 2004 season, two regional governing bodies in New South Wales – Far South Coast Rugby Union and Southern Inland Rugby Union, joined the ACT Rugby Union, which then renamed itself the ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union. The team adopted a new name and logo for the 2005 season, dropping the "ACT" to become known simply as "The Brumbies". The name change identified that the team represented an area much larger than the Australian Capital Territory – with "Brumbies Territory" incorporating a number of regions through southern New South Wales including the Riverina, Shoalhaven, and Southern Highlands as well as the Sunraysia region incorporating parts of Victoria.
Shirt sponsors and manufacturers
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Major Sponsor||Other Sponsors||Shorts Sponsor|
|2012||University of Canberra||DHL, SG Fleet||All Homes|
|2013||BLK||Land Rover, SG Fleet|
|2017||Plus500||Aquis Group, Land Rover||Aquis Group|
The Brumbies play all their home fixtures at GIO Stadium, located adjacent to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. They share the ground with the Canberra Raiders rugby league team. Also, the Canberra Vikings, the Brumbies' affiliate in the short-lived Australian Rugby Championship, played one of their four regular-season home matches there. In 2003 matches from the 2003 Rugby World Cup were played at the stadium. Capacity is a nominal all-seated 25,011, however the largest crowd is actually 28,753, which was for the 2004 Super 12 Final. The Brumbies team did not use Canberra Stadium for their post-season APC games, instead taking their home fixtures to Canberra's Viking Park, which has a smaller capacity.
The Brumbies have traditionally had a fierce rivalry with the NSW Waratahs. The original Brumbies team was formed of rejects from the Waratahs – ironically however the Brumbies have had more success over the duration of the Super 12/14. Brumbies v. Waratahs games are notoriously difficult for the away team to win – indeed the away team has only won on two occasions, including the Brumbies 51–10 humiliation of NSW in the 2002 semi finals. Brumbies/Waratahs games routinely attract sell out attendances. Since 2012 the interstate rivalry with the Queensland Reds has intensified as the two teams have been in close competition for the automatic conference semi-final qualification spot.
Another notable rival of the Brumbies is the Crusaders. The two sides have met in three grand finals (The Brumbies winning one and the Crusaders two). In common with the Waratah rivalry the away side rarely wins in encounters between the two sides. The Brumbies are the only team to have scored 50 points against the Crusaders and have recorded the highest ever score in a grand final (48 points) against this side. The Brumbies remain one of few sides to have a competitive win/loss record against the Crusaders.
The Australian Capital Territory's two elite development squads just below full-time professional level are the Brumbies A and ACT Under 19 teams. These teams are closely aligned with the Brumbies and train at the same venue used by the Super Rugby squad. Many Brumbies players not involved in international rugby play for Canberra's team in the National Rugby Championship which also draws from the elite development squads. – See: Canberra Vikings
The Brumbies A team plays matches against interstate and international representative teams, and has also competed in tournaments such as the Pacific Rugby Cup. Known by various names including ACT A, ACT XV, Brumbies A, and Brumby Runners, the team is selected from the best emerging rugby talent in the ACT and Southern NSW. The squad is composed of Brumbies contracted players, extended training squad members, ACT Under 19s, and selected Premier Division club players.
The Brumbies under 19 side plays in the URC competition. ACT teams played in the Southern States Tournament up until 2015 and also played occasional matches against other representative sides such as Pacific Rugby Cup teams. Prior to 2008, state colts teams at under 21 and under 21 age levels were fielded in national competitions. In 2018, an under 19 age limit was reinstated for the colts teams.
The Brumbies women's team competes in the Super W, after it was announced that a 15-a-side Australian women's rugby competition was to be played from 2018 and beyond.
- Champions (2)
- Runners-up (4)
- Australian Conference Champions (3)
Australian Provincial Championship
- Champions (1)
World Club Sevens
- Champions: (1)
Super 12 Super 14 Super Rugby Season Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Notes 1996 5th 11 7 0 4 306 273 +33 4 32 1997 2nd 11 8 0 3 406 291 +115 9 41 Lost final to Blues 1998 10th 11 3 0 8 248 364 −166 6 18 1999 5th 11 5 0 6 278 195 +83 8 28 2000 2nd 11 9 0 2 393 196 +197 9 45 Lost final to Crusaders 2001 1st 11 8 0 3 348 204 +144 8 40 Defeated Sharks in final 2002 2nd 11 7 0 4 374 230 +144 10 38 Lost final to Crusaders 2003 4th 11 6 0 5 358 313 +45 7 31 Lost semi-final to Blues 2004 1st 11 8 0 3 408 269 +139 8 40 Defeated Crusaders in final 2005 5th 11 5 1 5 260 266 −6 7 29 2006 6th 13 8 1 4 326 269 +57 4 38 2007 5th 13 9 0 4 234 173 +61 4 40 2008 9th 13 6 0 7 277 317 −40 6 30 2009 7th 13 8 0 5 311 305 +6 6 38 2010 6th 13 8 0 5 358 291 +67 5 37 2011 13th 16 4 1 11 314 437 −123 7 33 2012 7th 16 10 0 6 404 331 +73 10 58 2013 2nd 16 10 2 4 430 295 +135 8 60 Lost final to Chiefs 2014 4th 16 10 0 6 412 378 +34 5 45 Lost semi final to Waratahs 2015 6th 16 9 0 7 369 261 +108 11 47 Lost semi final to Hurricanes 2016 4th 15 10 0 5 425 326 +99 3 43 Lost quarterfinal to Highlanders 2017 4th 15 6 0 9 315 279 +36 10 34 Lost quarterfinal to Hurricanes 2018 10th 16 7 0 9 393 422 -29 6 34 2019 3rd 16 10 0 6 430 366 +64 8 48 Lost semifinal to Jaguares
|Brumbies Super Rugby squad|
|(c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.|
- 147 – Ben Alexander
- 142 – George Smith
- 136 – George Gregan
- 125 – Christian Lealiifano
- 123 – Stirling Mortlock
- 117 – Stephen Moore
- 116 – Stephen Larkham
- 112 – Jeremy Paul
- 102 – Mark Chisholm
- 101 – Henry Speight
- 100 – Bill Young
- 100 - Sam Carter
Since Super 12 (Games-Win-Loss-Draw-Win%)
- Rod McQueen – 1996–1997 (24–16–8–0–67%)
- Eddie Jones – 1998–2001 (48–28–20–0–58%)
- David Nucifora – 2002–2004 (38–24–14–0–63%)
- Laurie Fisher – 2005–2008 (50–28–20–2–56%)
- Andy Friend – 2009–2011 (28–17–11–0–61%)
- Tony Rea – 2011 (14–3–11–0–21%)
- Jake White – 2012–2013 (35–20–10-2 57%)
- Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher – 2014 (10-7-3-0-70%) (as of 8 May 2014)
- Stephen Larkham – 2015–2017
- Dan McKellar – 2018–present
- Highest point scorer in a career – Stirling Mortlock (1019 points, 1998–2010)
- Highest point scorer in a season – Christian Lealiifano (231 points, 2013)
- Highest try scorer in a career – Joe Roff (57 tries, 1996 to 2004)
- Highest try scorer in a season – Joe Roff (15 tries, 1997)
- Largest defeat – 7-56 – Hurricanes (2009 – Super 14)
- Largest Victory – 64–0 – Cats (2001), 73-9 – Bulls (1999)
- Scholes, Gary (29 March 1989). "Kookaburras unveil major sponsorship". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Dutton, Chris (28 April 2011). "Former Springboks coach White wants to bring back the 'Brumbies aura'". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Jake White granted release from final two years of contract as coach of ACT Brumbies". ABC. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Brumbies claim famous win against Lions
- Brumbies claim inaugural World Club Sevens title
- "Australia to name culled Super Rugby team "within days"". Mail Online. Associated Press. 9 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- Principal Sponsor Archived 26 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Our Partners. Brumbies. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union – A Brief History Archived 30 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine; brumbies.com.au; Retrieved 25 February 2008.
- Brumbies Territory; brumbies.com.au; Retrieved 25 February 2008.
- "1996 Retro Jersey". Brumbies. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- "Damien McInally". Getty Images. 27 March 1999.
- "Super12 Hurricanes v Brumbies X". Getty Images. 6 April 2001.
- "Joe Roff of the Brumbies smirks after scoring". Getty Images. 6 April 2003.
- "Super 12 - Brumbies v Reds". Getty Images. 28 March 2004.
- "Super 12 Semi Final - ACT Brumbies v Chiefs". Getty Images. 15 May 2004.
- "Super 14 Rd 1 - Western Force v Brumbies". Getty Images. 10 February 2006.
- "Investec Super 14 - Brumbies v Highlanders - Canberra Stadium". Getty Images. 23 February 2008.
- "Super Rugby Rd 3 - Brumbies v Cheetahs". Getty Images. 10 March 2012.
- "Super Rugby Final - Chiefs v Brumbies". Getty Images. 3 August 2013.
- "Annual Report 2013" (PDF 23.4 MB). Brumbies Rugby. 2013. p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Super Rugby Rd 14 - Jaguares v Brumbies". Getty Images. 27 May 2017.
- Aquis joins Brumbies family as major sponsor with six-year deal Archived 30 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine Brumbies Rugby. 2 November 2015.
- "Canberra Milk signs on as Brumbies Shorts Partner". Brumbies. 26 May 2016.
- "ACT Brumbies land rich sponsorship deal with Plus500 for 2017 Super Rugby season". The Canberra Times. 7 December 2016. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- "Austbrokers Canberra become Brumbies back of shorts sponsor". The Riot ACT. 5 March 2018.
- "Civium Sign Brumbies Shorts Deal". Brumbies. 15 February 2019.
- "ACT XV team named to open Pacific Rugby Cup". Brumbies Rugby. 27 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 January 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Super W: Rugby Australia announces national women's competition, but advocate slams lack of player wages". ABC. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
- "Plus500 Brumbies Finalise 2020 Super Rugby Squad" (Press release). Brumbies. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- HSBC Waratahs Media Unit. "Centurian Mitchell hoping for a milestone to remember". Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Largest defeats for Brumbies". rugbydata.com. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
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