The ACT Brumbies is a professional rugby team based in the capital city of Australia, Canberra, that competes in the Super Rugby competition. The team was established in 1995 as the third Australian team in the competition and was named after the feral horses that roam the countryside around Canberra. The team’s traditional colours are navy blue, white, and gold.
The Brumbies were not predicted to become a force in the competition because the team was initially comprised of players that the other Australian teams did not want. Funnily enough, though, the capital side have risen above the other Australian teams and have won three Super Rugby finals out of the very impressive seven that they have competed in. The Brumbies are also one of just two teams in the league to have won 200 games.
The team is currently coached by former player Stephen Larkham, who used to play for the Brumbies from 1996 to 2007.
As they are one of the apex predators of the competition, the Brumbies naturally contest a few fierce rivalries. Their main rivalries are against the NSW Waratahs, the Queensland Reds, and the Crusaders.
The rivalry against the Waratahs is formally acknowledged by the Dan Vickerman Cup, which the two sides vie for. This rivalry stemmed from the Brumbies being established with players that were viewed as ‘rejects’, while NSW rugby was viewed as a superior force. This unfair sense of bias clearly did a lot to spur the Brumbies on, as they have become the most successful Australian team in the Super Rugby era.
The ACT-NSW rivalry was, for a long time, characterised by home victories. The first away win in the rivalry was in the 2002 semi-final, which the Brumbies won 51–10. But since 2011, away victories became more common. The Waratahs eventually tasted revenge for their 2002 semi-final humiliation in the 2014 semi-final, defeating the Brumbies by 26–8.
The Queensland Reds have given the Brumbies some testing games in recent years after winning against them only once in the first 15 years of the Super Rugby competition. The 2020 Super Rugby final between the two sides was a hard-fought contest which ended in favour of the Brumbies, the ACT side coming through by a scoreline of 28–23.
The Rod Macqueen Cup was introduced in 2005, contested biannually between the Reds and Brumbies, which has served to heighten the stakes and drama of this rivalry.
The Brumbies rivalry with the Crusaders goes back to the early days of Super Rugby, when the two teams dominated the competition. Remarkably, from 1997 to 2006, every Super Rugby final has involved at least one of the Brumbies or the Crusaders, and the two sides have played against each other in three of these finals. The Crusaders hold the upper hand in this regard, losing in 2004 but winning in 2000 and 2002. The contests between the two sides have always had a reputation for a very high level of intensity.
Just like the rivalry with the Waratahs, it was very rare for the away side to come out on top in their games during the Super 12 and Super 14 era.
Compared to other teams like the Reds and Waratahs, the Brumbies hold a decent record against the Crusaders. They have generally kept the contests competitive, despite enduring a long losing streak. They remain one of the few teams that boasts a decent win–loss record against the Crusaders. By the end of the Super 14 era, the Brumbies’ record against them was eight wins from eighteen games. Only three other Super Rugby teams have a higher win rate against the Crusaders: The Blues at 12/42, the Hurricanes at 13/44, and the Chiefs at 18/48.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Brumbies did not play any non-Australian teams between 15th March 2020 and 15th May 2021. Eventually when restrictions eased, they played against the Crusaders in May 2021, an extremely close game that they ended up losing by 29-31 in Christchurch, after Noah Lolesio missed a conversion after the siren. This was the closest that the Brumbies had come to beating the Crusaders since a narrow 13-17 loss in 2017.
The Brumbies squad for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season consists of the following players:
The Brumbies call Canberra Stadium (once known as Bruce Stadium) their home ground, which they also share with the Canberra Raiders rugby league team. The stadium can hold up to 28,753 people.
For all information about the Brumbies, including their upcoming fixtures, past results, and the latest news, visit their official website.