Mon, May 12, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Super 12 sees Brumbies grab fourth playoff spot


With three New Zealand sides already in the Super 12 rugby union semifinals, it was left to the three Australian teams to create a bit of excitement on the final weekend of the round-robin. And then some.

"It's been one of the weirdest 24 hours I can remember," said ACT Brumbies coach David Nucifora. "Talk about a roller coaster."

His Brumbies sputtered into the Super 12 final four and will face first-place Auckland next Saturday in one semifinal while Canterbury hosts Wellington at Christchurch in the other.

Nucifora figured his team's chances of making the playoffs were next to nil after they lost 28-21 Friday to Canterbury. That left the Brumbies in fourth place with 31 points and needing two other results to go their way Saturday -- Otago would have to lose to Queensland, and New South Wales lose or win without a bonus point against Waikato. That's how the results panned out, so Otago and New South Wales are gone and Nucifora and the Brumbies are packing for Auckland.

"I thought we had no chance of that result coming out," Nucifora said after Queensland beat Otago 28-23 and New South Wales defeated Waikato 25-14.

The Waratahs could only manage three tries, giving them just four points.

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