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Brumbies carry Aust Super Rugby hopes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/07/2016 Adrian Warren

The Brumbies get a chance to contradict Australia's horrific record against New Zealand opposition after the controversial Super Rugby format handed them a home quarter-final against a team that accrued nine more points.

The Canberra-based side's grinding 24-10 home win over the Western Force on Saturday assured the Brumbies (43 points) of the Australian conference title and a clash next Friday with defending champions the Highlanders (52).

The Brumbies completed a clean sweep of six victories over Australian teams through the season, but finished only seventh on the overall ladder.

NSW Waratahs (40), who started the final round level on points with the Brumbies, missed the finals, having picked up just one point from a 34-28 loss to the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

Australian teams won just three of 25 regular season fixtures against New Zealand sides and the Brumbies lost four out of five against Kiwi opponents.

Among those defeats was a 23-10 away loss to the Highlanders in late April.

"We've certainly reviewed that game and learnt from that," Brumbies' coach Stephen Larkham said.

"We've had our troubles with New Zealand teams but we'll make sure that our preparation, like every week, is as good as it can be so that, one, we learn from those mistakes and two, give ourselves the best opportunity to play well."

Larkham hopes to have influential Wallabies flanker David Pocock back from a fractured eye socket which has sidelined him for almost six weeks.

The Highlanders finished second in New Zealand ahead of the Chiefs following a 25-15 win over that side in Dunedin.

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