The CA Brumbies have ground out a tough 6-3 win over the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
With the score balanced at 3-all for 59 minutes of the match, CA Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley drilled home a 35-metre penalty goal with eight minutes remaining to take the win against his former teammates.
CA Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher said he was pleased to leave Suncorp with four competition points.
“Winning ugly is better than losing ugly,” he said. “To the Reds credit, they put a lot of pressure on our set piece. When you’re not getting the clean ball you need, it makes it difficult to play the type of rugby we wanted to play. And while [the match] may not have been the best advertisement for rugby, I was pleased with the way we defended.”
With each team unable to assert themselves for any length of time, the match degenerated into a stop-start affair with both sides relying heavily on the boots of Stephen Larkham/Julian Huxley and Berrick Barnes/Clinton Schifcofske respectively to make any inroads up field.
The Reds continued their simple but effective pick-and-drive game plan while the CA Brumbies were unable to ignite their trademark wide running play.
With both sides often frustrated with the state of play, tempers frayed with the most notable flair-up occurring in the 15th minute when a melee spilled over the sideline. Surprisingly it was opposing openside flankers, George Smith and David Croft, seemingly not involved at the heart of the incident, who received yellow cards from referee Matt Goddard.
Despite skipper Stirling Mortlock registering the first points through a 42-metre penalty goal, the CA Brumbies were forced to absorb the majority of early pressure with the Reds setting up camp on the visitors’ goal line through the early stages of the match.
Unable to crack the CA Brumbies’ defensive line, the home side reverted to the boot of fullback Clinton Schifcofske to get them off the mark with a 23rd minute penalty.
The remainder of the match developed into a rugby arm wrestle with the best try-scoring opportunity coming in the 56th minute when lock Mark Chisholm busted through the Reds line only to come within centremetres of linking with Mortlock who had a 35-metre unimpeded run to the line.
While he was unable to convert the opportunity into points, Mortlock looked dangerous throughout the match before leaving the field with eight minutes remaining after incurring a sickening high tackle from Reds centre Lloyd Johansson – the ensuing penalty setting up Huxley with his opportunity to take the match.
Mortlock’s centre partner Gene Fairbanks was fearless in defence while winger Clyde Rathbone continued to take the ball to the line strongly before succumbing to a cork in the 53rd minute. Back rower Jone Tawake also proved a handful for the Reds defence after replacing Alister Campbell midway through the second half.
The CA Brumbies take on the Hurricanes in their Week Four Investec Super 14 match in Wellington next Friday.
CA Brumbies 6 (Stirling Mortlock penalty, Julian Huxley penalty) defeated Reds 3 (Clinton Schifcofske penalty) at Suncorp Stadium.
Referee: Matt Goddard
Half time: CA Brumbies 3-all
1. Nic Henderson
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Alister Campbell
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Adam Wallace-Harrison
7. George Smith
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. George Gregan
10. Stephen Larkham
11. Peter Playford
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Stirling Mortlock ©
14. Clyde Rathbone
15. Julian Huxley
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Richard Stanford
19. Jone Tawake
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Adam Ashley-Cooper
22. Matt Carraro
15. Julian Huxley replaced by 21. Adam Ashley-Cooper (blood bin – 23rd minute)
21. Adam Ashley-Cooper replaced by 15. Julian Huxley (27th minute)
2. Jeremy Paul replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (48th minute)
14. Clyde Rathbone replaced by 21. Adam Ashley-Cooper (53rd minute)
9. George Gregan replaced by 20. Patrick Phibbs (58th minute)
3. Nic Henderson replaced by 17. Salesi Ma’afu (62nd minute)
4. Alister Campbell replaced by 19. Jone Tawake (62rd minute)
13. Stirling Mortlock replaced by 22. Mat Carraro (72nd minute)
6. Adam Wallace-Harrison replaced by 18. Richard Stanford (72nd minute)
Yellow cards: George Smith (15th minute)
1. Greg Holmes
2. Sean Hardman
3. Rodney Blake
4. James Horwill
5. Ed O’Donoghue
6. Mitch Chapman
7. David Croft
8. John Roe ©
9. Nic Berry
10. Berrick Barnes
11. Peter Hynes
12. Lloyd Johansson
13. Ben Tune
14. Henari Veratau
15. Clinton Schifcofske
16. Stephen Moore
17. Ben Coutts
18. Cam Treloar
19. Tom McVerry
20. Will Genia
21. Charlie Fetoai
22. Quade Cooper