Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper has shown his class with a brilliant act of sportsmanship for an opposition player.
With the Waratahs battling the Brumbies on Saturday night, NSW skipper Michael Hooper watched on from the sidelines with an injured hamstring.
The flanker suffered the injury in the Wallabies’ final Test against Ireland on June 23 and wasn’t available as Super Rugby returned this weekend.
So when he saw Brumbies winger and Wallabies teammate Henry Speight limping off the field at half-time, he stepped in to help.
Despite the fact that they were opponents on the night, Hooper put his arm around Speight and assisted him up the tunnel and into the dressing rooms.
The Waratahs were dealt a massive reality check before their finals campaign with a 40-31 home loss.
The Brumbies hopes of making the playoffs were extinguished earlier on Saturday when the Melbourne Rebels picked up a bonus-point, but they played the role of party-pooper to perfection at Allianz Stadium
They scored four tries to one in the first half and finished ahead six to four in a fast-paced, frantic local derby.
The Waratahs had already won the Australian conference and were guaranteed a home quarter-final next week, but they were off the pace.
“I think were were out-enthused,” Waratahs’ captain Bernard Foley said in his post-match interview on Fox Sports.
The Brumbies’ late-season resurgence continued as they cut the Tahs apart with their continuity and speed out wide, with the home team missing 16 first-half tackles.
The Waratahs woes were compounded by some lost lineout throws, especially in the first half.
Their only first-half try to hooker Damien Fitzpatrick came towards the end of a sin-bin stint for Brumbies hooker Folau Faingaa, after some cynical play.
Even then the Brumbies hit back immediately with Tom Banks claiming the restart and setting up Andrew Muirhead, who beat two defenders and sprinted to the line.
Impressive Brumbies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani got a march on opposite number Curtis Rona in the battle for the Wallabies spot left open by the injured Samu Kerevi.
He fended off Rona late in the game to set up the final try of the match for Lausii Taliauli.
“I think we saved our best to last,” Brumbies captain and five-eighth Christian Lealiifano said in his post-match TV interview.
The Brumbies were fast out of the blocks leading 21-3 after 20 minutes and 26-10 at the break.
In-form Banks sprinted 65 metres after swooping on a loose pass from Rona.
Flowing moves produced tries to forwards Richie Arnold and Isi Naisarani as the Brumbies sprinted to a 21-3 lead.
One of the few positives for the Tahs was their ability to win several restarts.
The Brumbies started the second half well with an outstanding chip-and-chase try to centre Kyle Godwin as they scooted to a 23-point advantage.
Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro lifted Waratahs fans when he took a smart offload from Folau and bumped off two defenders and crashed over for his 15th try of the season.
Late tries to NSW backrowers Will Miller and Brad Wilkin helped cut the Brumbies’ winning margin.