I need 14 Smiths, Brumbies' Fisher says - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I need 14 Smiths, Brumbies' Fisher says

By Darren Walton 05/04/2008 12:56:15 PM Comments (0)

Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher admitted he was lucky to have champion flanker George Smith on his side during Friday night's 42-28 Super 14 loss to the Chiefs.

"Otherwise it could have been anything," Fisher said of the Brumbies' second-biggest home defeat - and first loss to the Chiefs at Canberra Stadium in a decade.

"George Smith was clearly our best player. He was magnificent and we need another 14 of him next week."

And the following week. And the week after that if the Brumbies want to stay in the title race and keep Fisher in a job next season.

Now languishing in ninth place on the ladder and six points out of the top four, the Brumbies probably need to win their remaining six games - as they did last season - in order to make the playoffs for the first time during Fisher's reign.

But even with skipper Stirling Mortlock and fellow Wallabies back Adam Ashley Cooper back on deck after making successful returns from injury on Friday night, the Brumbies' hopes look forlorn.

Even if they bring down the Blues in Auckland next Saturday night, the Brumbies then face the unbeaten Sharks at home before finishing with three away games, including two in South Africa, and finally the Western Force in Perth.

"We've got to maintain a good attitude. That's what developing sides do, and keep on going," Fisher said.

The 42 points - from six converted, and mostly soft, tries - was the most the Brumbies had conceded on home territory since suffering a 43-21 shellacking at the hands of the Sharks back in 1998.

"We gave them a couple of ridiculously soft tries - one from a steal and poor transitional defence - and you're chasing your arse from the outset," Fisher lamented.

The Chiefs had picked up a bonus point even before halftime and the match was as good as over five minutes into the second stanza when the New Zealanders had opened up a 35-7 lead.

The Brumbies rallied to collect a bonus point of their own when halfback Josh Holmes scored his second try, and his team's fourth, in the 81st minute.

The loss soured celebrations for Mortlock's 100th Super rugby appearance in his first match back from shoulder surgery.

Still, Mortlock's performance, along with Smith's, was one of the few positives the Brumbies could draw from the defeat.

"It was a great first-up game for him, not having played since the World Cup quarter-final six months ago," Fisher said.

"It was a tremendous return to rugby, great for Stirling and a confidence booster for the team."

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