4/20/2007

CA Brumbies remain Force to be reckoned with


 
The CA Brumbies have extended their winning run to four matches and kept their 2007 Investec Super 14 season alive after edging out the Western Force 14-12 at Canberra Stadium tonight.
 
With the two Australian sides vying for a position in the top four, both sides demonstrated finals-worthy defensive efforts with Jeremy Paul crossing for the sole try of the match just before half time.
 
CA Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher said he was pleased to take the win in a tight match.
 
“We played some pretty good field position but we would’ve liked to have kicked out a little bit more and put some pressure on their lineout,” he said. “We gave them a lot of kick return opportunities. But I think we had reasonable composure, we put them under pressure for most of the game and I think it’s a fair result, albeit an ugly one.”
 
With the strength of each side’s defensive line combined with the greasy conditions, both teams were determined to take any points on offer with CA Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley and former-CA-Brumby-cum-Force-flyhalf Matt Giteau converting early penalty opportunities.
 
Huxley’s kicking in general play was also a feature of the match but it was prop Guy Shepherdson who finished the match with man-of-the-match honours after a highly-involved and effective performance.
 
Fisher was full of compliments for his rampaging front-rower.
 
“I certainly think in the general game [Guy] is the leading tighthead in Australia,” he said. “The work rate that Sheppy has during a game is not quite to the same extent of Carl Hayman but he’s not too far behind. What he needs to do is take his scrummaging forward and he’s working hard to become an international scrummager because I think he’s a quality international footballer.”
 
Penalty goals were again the order of the second half despite several line breaks during the term, including a stunning 40-metre individual burst from winger Mark Gerrard.
 
Trailing 11-9, the Force capitalised on one of their rare ventures into opposition territory when Giteau slotted a straightforward 77th-minute goal after the CA Brumbies were penalised for collapsing a scrum.
 
However, the lead was short-lived when Force hooker Tai McIsaac was penalised for a late tackle on CA Brumbies flyhalf Stephen Larkham. With Huxley suffering a corked gluteal muscle, Gerrard accepted the goal-kicking responsibilities and calmly slotted the crucial three-pointer from 40 metres out with one minute remaining.
 
A relieved Fisher conceded that he feared his side’s season could be over following Giteau’s final penalty goal.
 
“It reminded me of a penalty we gave away against the Highlanders last year,” he said. “It was the same thing – a scrum penalty – and it looked like season over. So credit to the guys that with a great kick-off from Bernie [Steve Larkham] and a chase from Gerrardo to regain possession, we were able to take it hard to the line and draw the penalty. It showed some good character from the team.”
 
The CA Brumbies were again well served by their exceptional back row, with Stephen Hoiles and captain George Smith continuing their outstanding seasons while Julian Salvi had a strong impact off the bench.
 
Gene Fairbanks was again excellent in the CA Brumbies’ backline, his unwavering defence summed up when the tenacious inside centre chased down try-bound winger Cameron Shepherd to bail the Force flyer into touch and prevent a certain touchdown.
 
Fisher said his side is looking forward to next week’s showdown with reigning Investec Super 14 Champions, the Crusaders, at Canberra Stadium.
 
“I think we’re defending well and so hopefully we can frustrate the Crusaders,” he said. “We’ll get Stirling Mortlock back next week which will be a tremendous boost for the team. I don’t think we’ve taken an injury out of tonight’s game so we’ve got another run under our belt, we’ll get a good training week and look at the areas we need to take forward.”
 
 
MATCH DETAILS
CA Brumbies 14 (Jeremy Paul try; Julian Huxley 2 penalty goals, Mark Gerrard penalty goal) defeated Western Force 12 (Matt Giteau 4 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Aus)
Half time: CA Brumbies 8-6
Crowd: 18,021
 
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Guy Shepherdson 
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison 
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Jone Tawake
7. George Smith ©
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. George Gregan
10. Stephen Larkham
11. Mark Gerrard
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Peter Playford
15. Julian Huxley
 
Reserves
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Julian Salvi
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Matt Carraro 
22. Francis Fainifo
 
Replacements
6. Jone Tawake replaced by 19. Julian Salvi (45th minute)
14. Peter Playford replaced by 22. Francis Fainifo (61st minute)
3. Guy Shepherdson replaced by 17. Salesi Ma’afu (70th minute)
2. Jeremy Paul replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (72nd minute)
9. George Gregan replaced by 20. Patrick Phibbs (73rd minute)
 
 
Western Force
1.  Gareth Hardy 
2.  Tai McIsaac
3.  Troy Takiari
4.  Rudi Vedelago
5.  Nathan Sharpe ©
6.  David Pusey
7.  David Pocock
8.  Scott Fava
9.  Matt Henjak
10. Matt Giteau
11. Cameron Shepherd
12. Junior Pelesasa
13. Ryan Cross
14. Scott Staniforth
15. Drew Mitchell
 
Reserves
16. Luke Holmes
17. AJ Whalley 
18. Luke Doherty
19. Richard Brown
20. Chris O’Young
21. James Hilgendorf 
22. Digby Ioane
 
Replacements:
 
Yellow cards:
Nathan Sharpe (26th minute)
Ryan Cross (37th minute)
 
 
NEXT GAME:
Investec Super 14 Week 13
CA Brumbies v Crusaders at Canberra Stadium
Saturday, 28 April, 2007
 
CA Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher said he was pleased to take the win in a tight match.
 
“We played some pretty good field position but we would’ve liked to have kicked out a little bit more and put some pressure on their lineout,” he said. “We gave them a lot of kick return opportunities. But I think we had reasonable composure, we put them under pressure for most of the game and I think it’s a fair result, albeit an ugly one.”
 
With the strength of each side’s defensive line combined with the greasy conditions, both teams were determined to take any points on offer with CA Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley and former-CA-Brumby-cum-Force-flyhalf Matt Giteau converting early penalty opportunities.
 
Huxley’s kicking in general play was also a feature of the match but it was prop Guy Shepherdson who finished the match with man-of-the-match honours after a highly-involved and effective performance.
 
Fisher was full of compliments for his rampaging front-rower.
 
“I certainly think in the general game [Guy] is the leading tighthead in Australia,” he said. “The work rate that Sheppy has during a game is not quite to the same extent of Carl Hayman but he’s not too far behind. What he needs to do is take his scrummaging forward and he’s working hard to become an international scrummager because I think he’s a quality international footballer.”
 
Penalty goals were again the order of the second half despite several line breaks during the term, including a stunning 40-metre individual burst from winger Mark Gerrard.
 
Trailing 11-9, the Force capitalised on one of their rare ventures into opposition territory when Giteau slotted a straightforward 77th-minute goal after the CA Brumbies were penalised for collapsing a scrum.
 
However, the lead was short-lived when Force hooker Tai McIsaac was penalised for a late tackle on CA Brumbies flyhalf Stephen Larkham. With Huxley suffering a corked gluteal muscle, Gerrard accepted the goal-kicking responsibilities and calmly slotted the crucial three-pointer from 40 metres out with one minute remaining.
 
A relieved Fisher conceded that he feared his side’s season could be over following Giteau’s final penalty goal.
 
“It reminded me of a penalty we gave away against the Highlanders last year,” he said. “It was the same thing – a scrum penalty – and it looked like season over. So credit to the guys that with a great kick-off from Bernie [Steve Larkham] and a chase from Gerrardo to regain possession, we were able to take it hard to the line and draw the penalty. It showed some good character from the team.”
 
The CA Brumbies were again well served by their exceptional back row, with Stephen Hoiles and captain George Smith continuing their outstanding seasons while Julian Salvi had a strong impact off the bench.
 
Gene Fairbanks was again excellent in the CA Brumbies’ backline, his unwavering defence summed up when the tenacious inside centre chased down try-bound winger Cameron Shepherd to bail the Force flyer into touch and prevent a certain touchdown.
 
Fisher said his side is looking forward to next week’s showdown with reigning Investec Super 14 Champions, the Crusaders, at Canberra Stadium.
 
“I think we’re defending well and so hopefully we can frustrate the Crusaders,” he said. “We’ll get Stirling Mortlock back next week which will be a tremendous boost for the team. I don’t think we’ve taken an injury out of tonight’s game so we’ve got another run under our belt, we’ll get a good training week and look at the areas we need to take forward.”
 
 
MATCH DETAILS
CA Brumbies 14 (Jeremy Paul try; Julian Huxley 2 penalty goals, Mark Gerrard penalty goal) defeated Western Force 12 (Matt Giteau 4 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Aus)
Half time: CA Brumbies 8-6
Crowd: 18,021
 
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Guy Shepherdson 
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison 
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Jone Tawake
7. George Smith ©
8. Stephen Hoiles
9. George Gregan
10. Stephen Larkham
11. Mark Gerrard
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Peter Playford
15. Julian Huxley
 
Reserves
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Julian Salvi
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Matt Carraro 
22. Francis Fainifo
 
Replacements
6. Jone Tawake replaced by 19. Julian Salvi (45th minute)
14. Peter Playford replaced by 22. Francis Fainifo (61st minute)
3. Guy Shepherdson replaced by 17. Salesi Ma’afu (70th minute)
2. Jeremy Paul replaced by 16. Saia Faingaa (72nd minute)
9. George Gregan replaced by 20. Patrick Phibbs (73rd minute)
 
 
Western Force
1.  Gareth Hardy 
2.  Tai McIsaac
3.  Troy Takiari
4.  Rudi Vedelago
5.  Nathan Sharpe ©
6.  David Pusey
7.  David Pocock
8.  Scott Fava
9.  Matt Henjak
10. Matt Giteau
11. Cameron Shepherd
12. Junior Pelesasa
13. Ryan Cross
14. Scott Staniforth
15. Drew Mitchell
 
Reserves
16. Luke Holmes
17. AJ Whalley 
18. Luke Doherty
19. Richard Brown
20. Chris O’Young
21. James Hilgendorf 
22. Digby Ioane
 
Replacements:
 
Yellow cards:
Nathan Sharpe (26th minute)
Ryan Cross (37th minute)
 
 
NEXT GAME:
Investec Super 14 Week 13
CA Brumbies v Crusaders at Canberra Stadium
Saturday, 28 April, 2007