CA Brumbies weather the Stormers

The CA Brumbies have registered their first home victory for 2007 with a convincing 26-13 win over the Stormers at Canberra Stadium tonight.
The home side entertained their crowd of 14, 410 with some fluent ball movement and another solid defensive display to claim the four competition points and ensure the Charles Anderson VC Memorial Cup – contested annually between the CA Brumbies and the Stormers – remains in Canberra for another year.
While CA Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher was pleased with the result he added there was room for improvement.
“It’s certainly a relief to win and a relief to play some good football,” he said. “In saying that, it was disappointing to have created many more opportunities and not convert them into tries but at this stage we’ll take the four points.”
The match was earmarked as an important home fixture for the two-time Super 12 Champions before hitting the road for matches against the Cheetahs, Sharks and Lions in their three-week South African leg.
The game also signaled the return of CA Brumbies stars Stirling Mortlock and Clyde Rathbone, who were both heavily involved throughout the match. Mortlock, returning after a two-week absence, showed no hesitation in tearing into the Stormers’ defensive line. The hard-running outside centre finished the match with a personal tally of 16 points that included carrying three defenders across the line shortly after half time for his second try of the season.
The CA Brumbies’ captain was joined on the try ledger by Adam Ashley-Cooper when the fullback powered through a Jean de Villiers/Corne Uys tackle after the ball was shifted wide by flyhalf Julian Huxley. Ashley-Cooper’s five-pointer was the culmination of a man-of-the-match performance with the 22-year-old frequently busting tackles, carrying the ball across the gain line and driving Stormers runners into ground with his non-compromising defence.
Fisher was full of praise for his rampaging fullback.
“[Ashley-Cooper] stepped up again tonight on the back of what was a pretty good performance last week,” he said. “I’m really pleased for Adam. He’s a powerful, strong footballer and I hope he starts to realise some of the potential he does have.”
Having held the weight of possession through the early stages of the match, the CA Brumbies appeared to break through for the first try when George Gregan allowed Adam Wallace-Harrison to stroll through the Stormers line in the fifth minute, only to have play called back for a knock-on.
Wallace-Harrison’s lock partner, Mark Chisholm, quickly made amends for the error when he pounced on a Julian Salvi charge-down to score for the CA Brumbies. The try was a just reward for Chisholm who was also among the CA Brumbies’ best in his 50th Super 14 appearance.
Three first half penalties to Mortlock gave his side a 14-6 lead at the break.
The home side was denied a valuable four-try bonus point on the stroke of full time when Stormers fullback Gio Aplon diffused a CA Brumbies three-on-one overlap when he intercepted a Mark Gerrard cut-out pass to race 90 metres and score.
The CA Brumbies fly out for South Africa on Sunday before their next match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
CA Brumbies 26 (Mark Chisholm, Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper tries; Stirling Mortlock conversion, 3 penalty goals) defeated Stormers 13 (Gio Aplon try; Peter Grant conversion, 2 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium.
Referee: Steve Walsh
Half time: CA Brumbies 14-6
Crowd: 14,410
CA Brumbies
1. John Ulugia
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Guy Shepherdson 
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison 
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Julian Salvi
7. George Smith
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. George Gregan
10. Julian Huxley 
11. Mark Gerrard
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Stirling Mortlock ©
14. Clyde Rathbone
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Nic Henderson
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Jone Tawake
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Anthony Faingaa 
22. Francis Fainifo
1. John Ulugia replaced by 17. Nic Henderson (40th minute)
6. Julian Salvi replaced by 19. Jone Tawake (55th minute)
2. Jeremy Paul replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (61st minute)
14. Clyde Rathbone replaced by 22. Francis Fainifo (57th minute)
5. Mark Chisholm replaced by 18. Peter Kimlin (69th minute) 
12. Gene Fairbanks replaced by 21. Anthony Faingaa (73rd minute)
9. George Gregan replaced by 20. Patrick Phibbs (73rd minute)
1. JD Moller
2. Schalk Brits
3. Eddie Andrews
4. Andries Bekker
5. Gerrie Britz
6. Luke Watson ©
7. Schalk Burger
8. Justin Melck
9. Bolla Conradie
10. Peter Grant
11. Corne Uys
12. De Wet Barry
13. Jean de Villiers
14. Breyton Paulse
15. Gio Aplon
16. Huia Edmonds 
17. Schalk Ferreira
18. Ross Skeate
19. Francois Van Der Merwe
20. JP Joubert 
21. Naas Olivier
22. Egon Seconds
Yellow cards: 
Justin Melck (27th minute)
Super 14 Week Seven
CA Brumbies v Cheetahs at Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
Saturday, 17 March, 2007