It's 2014 and another long Rugby season is starting...well, is underway. Only a few rugby followers here, but we can't help it everyone else has poor taste! Anyway, down to the nitty-gritty. The Super season kicked off last weekend, but this weekend is when the NZ and Aust teams joined in. We have a lot of tests to look forward to come SH winter through spring. It even seems the rumour of a union-league hybrid exhibition game is making the rounds again after spending the off-season in hibernation. We're also a year out of the next RWC and its generally a big moving year as players rise and fall in their efforts to find their way into serious contention for 2015. On the more immediate issue of the 2014 Super Rugby season, as a Brumbies supporter I'm hoping of course they can go one better than last year and win the championship. Off season was a bit of a media circus. First, Jake White left and we had the dual Laurie Fisher-Stephen Larkham setup come in. The CEO of the organisation also left. Then to top it all off, Ben Mowen, current Brumbies captain and Wallabies captain announced he's leaving Australia to go play in France after the end of the 2014 season (either Super or Wallabies season depending on the ARU and selection). They also come into this season with significant pressure due to being runners-up last year rather than also-rans from 2012. They face a seemingly healthier Australian conference with the Reds still strong, the Tahs fast on the rise, and even the Rebels and Force showing some promising signs. While it is likely still be a just a three horse race, the conference definitely looks better than the dark days of 2011/12 The Brumbies have just finished their first game. It was against the Reds at Canberra and in a reversal of the 2013 opener it was the Reds coming out on top. Quite a similar game to 2013 but where the Brumbies kept the lead for most of the game, before it got close and a late try to secure it, it was the Reds doing that this time. The Brumbies pressure game built under Jake White looked quite unsteady without radar boot Leali'ifano. In fact in general poor kicking hurt the Brumbies a lot. Average goal kicking prevented score board pressure and Nic White kicking two restarts out on the full allowed the Reds to build and maintain pressure on the Brumbies, seeing them get out to a 17-9 by half time. The Brumbies fought back well in the second half and got it to 20-17 behind the Reds, though uncharacteristically they didn't go after penalties in the middle of the second half where they could have evened up the game. Maybe Mogg's not as reliable kicking made Mowen too desperate for a try a goal kicking war was not one he thought they could win. Though the Brumbies did have two tries disallowed, so the had shown that the Reds were vulnerable. In the end it didn't work. Yet, worse was to come. In the last 2 minutes of the game the Brumbies made one of the worst mistakes you'll likely to see in this years comp. Mogg (who had at best an indifferent game) went to field a touch finder near the Brumbies line, knocked it on, knocked it on again, then knocked it back through his legs and through that of a player coming to help clean the ball up all for the substitute Reds winger to scoop it up and run under the posts to seal the win. This time last year, it was Mogg intercepting a Cooper pass to seal the win for the Brumbies, this year he made it so that they would miss out on a bonus point. Mogg wasn't the only one off. The entire Brumbies outfit was off. On the plus side Pocock looked okay, and survived uninjured. The limited ball Tomane and Speight got they also looked good. Sio was good around the park and Moore was his usual hard working self. But as a unit they had too many handling errors and allowed too many turnovers so that they couldn't turn 60% possession and around 7 mins in the opposition 22 into a victory. Early days yet so I'm not off to throw myself into the sea just yet. As the Reds showed last year, a slow start doesn't mean you can't make the finals. No doubt there will be immediate media questioning of the coach setup at the Brumbies, but as I said it's only round 1(2). I still believe the Brumbies can give this competition a good shake this year.