British & Irish Lions

White hails 'massive' win

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 14:09
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To beat the Lions is as high as it gets
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Former World Cup-winning Springbok coach Jake White has achieved another extraordinary feat, but he opted to heap praise on his players.

White, who guided South Africa to victory in the 2007 World Cup, masterminded the British and Irish Lions' first defeat on their 2013 tour of Australia, when they were upset 14-12 by the tenacious Brumbies on Tuesday - just days out from the opening Test against the Wallabies.

It was the Lions' first tour loss to a provincial side since going down 30-35 to Northern Transvaal in South Africa in 1997 and the first win by an Australian provincial team against them in 42 years, the first since Queensland beat the tourists 15-11 in 1971.

White's Brumbies were also the sixth Australian side, including the Wallabies, to keep the Lions try-less in a match.

In just two years since leaving South African and moving to Canberra, White has taken the Brumbies from a disastrous rabble to Super Rugby contenders and now world beaters.

"It's a massive result," White said in his post-match reaction.

"This is a very young group of players who only got together 18 months ago and no one would ever have dreamt that we would have achieve Super Rugby-wise but to also get a win against the Lions doesn't happen.

"The Brumbies, even in their heyday, couldn't do it so we're very mindful that this is as big as it gets for any boy who has played at this level."

White described the result as one of the highlights of his career.

"You have to put it in perspective, it's humbling to think these young boys have done that.

"They were fantastic, the way they were able to grind it out and win ... the way it unfolded, it was good to see them off."

"I've been lucky enough to win a junior and senior World Cup. But to beat the Lions. It's as high as it gets.''

The Lions played right into the strengths of White's Brumbies, the home side winning the kicking dual on the back of the boots of flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg in soggy weather conditions.

Brumbies captain Peter Kimlin, who was a standout in the upset, said he could take knowledge of the win back into Wallabies camp.

"We went in there with a pretty clear mindset. We just wanted to keep it simple, hard workrate and big defence,'' he said.

The Brumbies will now refocus for the Super Rugby play-offs, when the competition resumes in Australia on July 13.

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