A brace of classy tries to winger Robbie Coleman has highlighted a solid win for the UC Brumbies over Cape Town rivals, the Stormers at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
It was the UC Brumbies first win over the Stormers since 2010 and kept the visitor’s poor record at GIO Stadium to just one win since competition began back in 1996.
Despite the Stormers losing Schalk Burger before kick-off with a torn quad, the visitors still sported one of the biggest packs in the competition and they worked hard to bash the UC Brumbies at the breakdown and around the park.
Scott Fardy was at his usual best and was named Man of the Match, while the rest of the forward pack were not far behind in terms of effort and effectiveness to clinch the win in the face of some ferocious attack from a group of big, desperate South Africans.
It was a big night for UC Brumbies lock, Jack Whetton, who made his professional debut in one of the toughest encounters the UC Brumbies forwards have faced this season.
UC Brumbies Director of Rugby, Laurie Fisher, said the players coming through for injured squad members continued to stand up and be counted.
He said it was an impressive result against a team desperate to get their season back on track.
“Their defence has been solid for a great many years now and you’re never going to be allowed to play much football. It’s games like this that you’ve got to be committed to the grind and I think we achieved that tonight,” Fisher said.
“We had a few blokes out and that Stormers team is virtually playing for their season so this was a very committed and satisfying result.
“It’s really pleasing to have guys like Jordan Smiler, Lachlan McCaffrey and JP Smith come through and produce for you when they’re called on. It’s a full squad effort and we are really pleased with that.”
The Stormers were the first to score off the boot of Peter Grant, but the celebrations were short lived for the Cape Town visitors as Matt Toomua sliced through before off-loading to Coleman who crossed in the right corner, just two minutes later.
Piggy-backed down field thanks to a contentious penalty, the Stormers made the most of their ample field position and possession, with Duane Vermeulen scoring from close range. The conversion was successful and the visitors held a three point advantage with 25 minutes played.
Nic White struck twice with the boot in the in the final stages of the first half, one offence sending Tiaan Liebenberg to the bin in the 31st minute, and the UC Brumbies went to the sheds 13-10 up.
For the opening 20 minutes of the second half the score remained at 13-10, neither side able to break through for point despite shots at goal.
But a Coleman miracle proved the difference. The King of Queanbeyan chased through a speckie kick from Ben Mowen, pouncing on a loose ball and planting it in the left corner with just inches to work with.
Coleman’s brace of tries elevated his total count to four for the season and equal first with fullback Jesse Mogg for UC Brumbies bragging rights.
But with 10 minutes to play the game was far from over. Momentum swung in the Stormers favour and they rolled back down the field. Their forwards did the tough stuff from within the UC Brumbies 22 before spinning it wide to Juan De Jongh who darted through numerous defenders to score just left of the posts. Grant missed the easiest of conversions from right in front leaving the UC Brumbies were clinging to victory at 18-15.
In the final moment, with the UC Brumbies having trucked the ball back 90 metres, the scrum proved all-class again for the second consecutive week, deflating the Stormers pack to earn a penalty try and seal the win for the UC Brumbies, 25-15.
UC Brumbies 25 (Robbie Coleman 2 tries, penalty try; Nic White 2 cons, 2 pens) bt Stormers 15 (Duane Vermeulen, Juan de Jongh tries; Peter Grant pen, con) at GIO Stadium, Canberra. Crowd: 11,275. Referee: Glen Jackson.
1. JP Smith (replaced by Ruaidhri Murphy)
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Siliva Siliva)
3. Ben Alexander
4. Scott Fardy
5. Sam Carter
6. Jordan Smiler (replaced by Jack Whetton)
7. Jarrad Butler (replaced by Lachlan McCaffrey)
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Robbie Coleman
12. Pat McCabe
13. Andrew Smith
14. Joe Tomane
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Siliva Siliva
17. Ruan Smith
18. Ruaidhri Murphy
19. Jack Whetton
20. Lachlan McCaffrey
21. Michael Dowsett
22. Stephan Van Der Walt
23. Lionel Cronje