Jake White says Crusaders are still the benchmark
George Smith may have created Brumbies Rugby history on Sunday when he ran on for his 137th Investec Super Rugby cap but it's the Crusaders who are still the benchmark according to coach Jake White.
But not even his nous and experience could stop the Crusaders from claiming a seven-point victory, summed up by two outrageous length of the field scores.
"That sums up the difference between that team and others," White conceded afterwards.
"We lost the ball twice in their A-Zone and they went the length of the field to score 14 points. Most teams in the competition would get the ball and kick it out, thankful that they have kept us out, but they are just a different team.
"When they punish you, they punish you and that's why the Crusaders are the benchmark team of Super Rugby."
White was left to bemoan a series of errors as the Brumbies failed to exploit an early advantage gained against the run of play when Matt Toomua intercepted to run eighty metres for the games' opening score.
"It's disappointing and the most disappointing thing is we didn't give ourselves a chance," White commented. "We got a 10-0 start after playing no rugby and the message afterwards was that we almost waited to see what would happen and when we started to get stuck in, it was a little too late.
"The three teams we have struggled with this year, The Kings, Stormers and the Crusaders are the teams we haven't played and it's almost like we don't know what to expect and we take sixty minutes to feel the water."
As for Smith there was no-one prouder to break the Brumbies caps record despite the reversal with the amiable flanker enjoying the moment but cursing his bad luck on these milestone occasions.
"Whenever I do make an achievement, whether it was for the Brumbies or the Wallabies, I don't have any good luck!" Smith joked.
"I should mention George Gregan as he is a mentor of mine and to surpass him, someone who means so much to the club and the Canberra community, is a huge honour for me. He sent me a kind text and he is very proud.
"I know how he feels about myself and my career, I have mirrored his path, from here to Toulon to Suntory and back here.
"To do this with the players we have in this squad, I do see a lot of good things happening to this group in the future, so I am very pleased to be a part of it."
The Brumbies enjoy the bye next weekend before returning to action in what could be a crucial Round 14 match-up away to the Waratahs.
And as for the Crusaders, White is adamant that his team will meet the Kiwi powerhouse once more before the season is out.
"We will play those guys again, I have no doubt," he said.
"If you want to win the competition you will have to beat the Crusaders along the way and hopefully the lessons we have learned today will bode us well if we get to play them again."