2/10/2007

CA Brumbies sing full-time Blues


The CA Brumbies have had four Super 14 points ripped from them in excruciating fashion at Canberra Stadium tonight.
 
Leading by five points with seconds remaining, the CA Brumbies were unable to halt a Blues rolling maul that eventually crashed over the tryline. Auckland flyhalf Isa Nacewa coolly converted from four metres inside the touchline to afford his side a 17-15 win.
 
CA Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher said that missed opportunities came back to haunt his side.
 
“I thought we did enough to win the game, we just didn’t do enough to close them out,” he said. “To the Blues’ credit they hung in and they stuck with us. They were always within striking distance and they struck in the last minute of the game. I thought we had opportunities to be a fraction further ahead but we didn’t secure those.”
 
Despite Canberra being in the midst of a crippling drought, half an hour of solid rain in the lead-up to the match ensured that it was a greasy and, at times, scrappy affair.
 
With both teams determined to play field position and force the other into a mistake, the right boot of Julian Huxley again proved crucial with Mark Gerrard and Stephen Larkham providing able assistance with kicking in general play.
 
In a tight encounter prop Nic Henderson worked overtime, trucking the ball forward, cleaning out and scrummaging well against All Black tighthead John Afoa. The CA Brumbies back row of Stephen Hoiles, Julian Salvi and George Smith were also highly involved in cleaning up any loose ball or bringing down Blues ball runners.
 
Despite the result, Fisher said the loss was not cause for concern.
 
“I thought we did pretty well,” he said. “We defended well, we recycled our ball pretty well and I thought our scrum was great tonight. Our lineout struggled a bit in those conditions and they were hard at it. So there are some little things to fix up but I don’t think there’s too much dramatically wrong.”
 
Despite holding the better of territory in the first half, the CA Brumbies could only manage three Huxley penalty goals. In response the Blues netted a converted try with returning inside centre Luke McAlister stepping inside the CA Brumbies’ defence before giving Nacewa a 15-metre unimpeded run to the tryline, to trail 9-7 at the break.
 
While Huxley and Nacewa traded penalties early in the second half, momentum began swinging in the Blues’ favour. When Huxley failed to land a penalty attempt from 30 metres with five minutes remaining and captain Alister Campbell received a yellow card for hands in the ruck, the Blues campaign began to gain ascendancy.
 
From Campbell’s indiscretion, the Blues won their lineout 10 metres from the CA Brumbies’ line before marching the ensuing maul into the in-goal where Saimone Taumoepeau crashed over to score. Nacewa’s conversion stealing the result for the Blues.
 
Gerrard was straightforward in his post-match critique of his side’s performance.
 
“They played for 80 minutes, we only played for 79,” he said. “But I think we’ve learned our lesson and we’ll now move on to taking on the Reds at Suncorp.”
 
MATCH DETAILS 
Blues 17 (Isa Nacewa, Saimone Tauoepeau tries; Isa Nacewa 2 conversions, penalty) defeated CA Brumbies 15 (Julian Huxley 5 penalties) at Canberra Stadium. 
Referee: Jonathon Kaplan (SA)
Half time: Brumbies 9-7
Crowd: 16,127
 
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Alister Campbell ©
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Julian Salvi
7. George Smith
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. George Gregan
10. Stephen Larkham
11. Peter Playford
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 
14. Clyde Rathbone
15. Julian Huxley
 
Reserves
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Adam Wallace-Harrison
19. Jone Tawake
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Matt Carraro
22. Mark Gerrard
 
Replacements
11. Peter Playford replaced by 22. Mark Gerrard (5th minute)
5. Mark Chisholm replaced by 18. Adam Wallace-Harrison (43rd minute)
6. Julian Salvi replaced by 19. Jone Tawake (43rd minute)
2. Jeremy Paul replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (70th minute)
1. Guy Shepherdson replaced by 17. Salesi Ma’afu (70th minute)
 
Yellow cards: Alister Campbell (79th minute)
 
Blues
1. Saimone Taumoepeau
2. Derren Witcombe
3. John Afoa
4. Greg Rawlinson
5. Troy Flavell ©
6. Angus Macdonald
7. Daniel Braid
8. Jerome Kaino
9. David Gibson
10. Isa Nacewa
11. Rudi Wulf
12. Luke McAlister
13. Anthony Tuitavake
14. Doug Howlett
15. George Pisi
 
Reserves
16. Chris Heard
17. Nick White
18. Anthony Boric
19. Justin Collins
20. Steve Devine
21. David Holwell
22. Ben Atiga.
 
Replacements:
 
NEXT GAME:
Super 14 Week Three
CA Brumbies v Reds at Suncorp Stadium
Saturday, 17 January, 2007