The CA Brumbies have won the Australian Provincial Championship following a convincing 42-17 win over the Queensland Reds at Viking Park tonight.
The home side led from start to finish accumulating six tries along the way with the super boot of Julian Huxley converting each touchdown.
Committing to the CA Brumbies’ trademark running game, the ACT side benefited from their expansive game plan, spinning the ball quickly and finding holes out wide.
While the visitors found some ground early, they were largely closed out of the match in the first half before finding the line on two occasions after the break.
Determined to impress in front of national selectors John Connolly, Scott Johnson and Michael O’Connor, the CA Brumbies were strong across the park with each of the 22-man squad taking the final opportunity to push their claim for a full-time Super 14 contract or berth on the Wallaby Spring Tour.
Julian Huxley took man-of-the-match honours with a flawless kicking display, both off the kicking tee and in general play, as well as closing out the match with a show of pace to cross for a five-pointer of his own.
The backrow was again tireless with Mark Chisholm acting as a battering ram through the midfield, Julian Salvi playing hard at the ball throughout the match and Stephen Hoiles directing play up field as well as demonstrating his ball-playing ability stepping into first receiver on many occasions.
Captain Alister Campbell, who again controlled the lineout, showed off his hard ball-running ability netting his second try in as many weeks.
The centre pairing of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Gene Fairbanks were again tight in defence and strong with the ball while Tim Curran capped off a first-class tournament with two tries in his first run-on appearance.
The CA Brumbies’ intention of playing an expansive game was shown early in the piece when Huxley and Hoiles pushed the ball wide to put Curran in space. The fullback linked with flyer Frnacis Fainifo to help put the CA Brumbies ahead 7-0 after three minutes.
A penalty goal to Reds centre Lloyd Johansson capitalised on some good field position for the Queenslanders. However it was CA Brumbies’ winger Tim Wright who was the next to cross for a five-pointer when he found himself on the end of a Huxley cut-out pass to cross in the corner after bumping off his opposite, Caleb Brown.
The CA Brumbies were in again three minutes later when Ashley-Cooper cut through out wide before Fairbanks delivered a deft inside ball to Curran from the following phase, who scored under the posts. Huxley’s successful conversion rounded out the 21-3 half-time score.
After withdrawing from last weekend’s match due to a calf strain, Mark Gerrard entered the fray off the bench in the 49th minute to make his debut at flyhalf. The move took just nine minutes to reap rewards when wide passes from Gerrard and Huxley found a rampaging Campbell in the backline who charged 30 metres to touchdown.
Chisholm was unlucky to be held up over the line in the 61st minute before Reds fullback John Dart completed a 14-point turnaround when he swooped on a Gerrard cut-out pass from the ensuing scrum to race 80 metres to score.
Ashley-Cooper produced a slick one-handed pass to put Curran in for his second six minutes later before Caleb Brown hit and spun his way out of a tackle to cross from close range for the Reds with 10 minutes remaining.
Huxley capped off a stellar performance by racing 30 metres down the left-hand flank to score five minutes from full time to bring his personal tally to 17 points for the evening.
CA Brumbies 42 (Tim Curran 2; Francis Fainifo, Tim Wright, Alister Campbell, Julian Huxley tries; Julian Huxley 6 conversions) defeated Queensland Reds 17 (John Dart, Caleb Brown; Andrew Brown 2 conversions, Lloyd Johansson penalty) at Viking Park
Referee: Matt Goddard
Half time: CA Brumbies 21-3
1. Nic Henderson
2. James McCormack
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Alister Campbell (c)
5. Marty Wilson
6. Mark Chisholm
7. Julian Salvi
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Julian Huxley
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Tim Wright
15. Tim Curran
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma'afu
18. Scott Flint
19. Brendan O’Neill
20. Nick Haydon
21. Mark Gerrard
22. Jason Lagaali
5. Marty Wilson replaced by 18. Scott Flint (49th minute)
11. Francis Fainifo replaced by 21. Mark Gerrard (49th minute)
9. Patrick Phibbs replaced by 20. Nick Haydon (58th minute)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper replaced by 22. Jason Lagaali (58th minute – bloodbin)
22. Jason Lagaali replaced by 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (65th minute)
2. James McCormack replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (65th minute)
1. Guy Shepherdson replaced by 17. Salesi Ma’afu (67th minute)
8. Stephen Hoiles replaced by 19. Brendan O’Neill (74th minute)
14. Tim Wright replaced by 22. Jason Lagaali (74th minute)
1. Ben Coutts
2. Stephen Moore
3. Herman Hunt
4. Ed O'Donoghue
5. James Horwill
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. David Croft
8. John Roe (c)
9. Nic Berry
10. Peter Hynes
11. Caleb Brown
12. Lloyd Johansson
13. Ben Tune
14. Henari Veratau
15. John Dart
16. Sean Hardman
17. Peter Loane
18. Cameron Treloar
19. Ben Mowen
20. AJ Gilbert
21. Andrew Brown
22. Brando Va'alu