Brumbies play to 2nd worst home crowd

Oliver Caffrey
A crowd of just over 5,000 attended the Brumbies' Super Rugby loss to the Rebels

Australia's Super Rugby woes are extending to off the field with the Brumbies playing in front of their second-lowest ever crowd for a home game.

Just 5283 supporters turned out at GIO Stadium on Saturday night for the ACT team's clash with rivals Melbourne.

That figures sits only behind an attendance of 4000 back in 1999 when the Brumbies smashed the South African-based Bulls.

A Rugby League World Cup match between France and Lebanon attracted more fans (5492) at the same venue last October.

While it was a cold Canberra night against the Rebels, the turnout for a conference derby is of concern to the Brumbies and Rugby Australia.

It adds to the frustration of Australian teams losing 39 straight games against New Zealand opposition, with the second anniversary of the last win fast approaching.

"It's really sad to be honest, as a rugby union person," Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.

"It was obviously a cold, damp evening. Everyone in this room and here tonight wants the game to be thriving. The reality is at the moment it isn't.

"Our form is playing a part of that and I've got to front up and take ownership of that 100 per cent.

"I want our boys playing in front of 15,000 people - people I know care about them."

Several factors can be to blame for the turnout, including a delayed push for a new stadium in Canberra close to the city centre, but the Brumbies aren't alone with their crowd struggles.

The highest figure for a Super Rugby game in Australia this year (16,135) came when the Rebels lost to the Hurricanes at AAMI Park.

Even a NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds rivalry match at the SCG in April saw 15,648 fans come through the gate.

The Brumbies are averaging 8464 supporters a game this season, which is inflated by playing in the NSW Waratahs in front of 13,515 fans.

The Western Force, who were controversially axed from the competition last year, attracted a crowd of 19,466 in their World Series Rugby game against Fiji on May 4.