Brumbies suffer first home loss

The CA Brumbies have lost their final home match for the 2006 regular season, falling by two points to the Highlanders at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The loss places the Brumbies in jeopardy of losing their top four spot, while the Highlanders have maintained their recent dominance of the Canberra team with another determined effort.

In a see-sawing match where the lead changed ten times, the Highlanders eventually prevailed with a long-range penalty goal by fullback Ben Blair with three minutes remaining.

The scoreboard reflected the tone of the match, where the Brumbies were out-enthused rather than outplayed by their opposition.

Matt Giteau and Joel Wilson were denied their chance to leave Canberra Stadium for the final time in Brumbies colours as winners.

For the Brumbies, George Gregan was given ten minutes in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Highlanders winger Richard Kahui, while the Highlanders' Jimmy Cowan also received a yellow card.

Gene Fairbanks and Matt Giteau scored tries for the home team, while Highlanders prop Carl Hayman crossed for a double in a powerful display from the All Black tighthead.

A crowd of 19, 023 was on hand to see the final home match for the Brumbies, who are now out of the running to host a semi-final.

Full report to follow

Highlanders 28 (Carl Hayman 2, Craig Newby tries; Ben Blair 2 conversions, 3 penalty goals) defeated CA Brumbies 26 (Gene Fairbanks, Matt Giteau tries; Stirling Mortlock 2 conversions, 3 penalty goals; George Gregan drop goal) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra, AUS.