A Brumbies fling Highlanders

 The CA Brumbies made a triumphant return to Canberra Stadium with a 22-20 win over the Highlanders in their Investec Super 14 Week Two match tonight.

With Stirling Mortlock and Clyde Rathbone already sidelined and first-round injuries to Adam Ashley-Cooper and Gene Fairbanks, the home side fielded their youngest backline in the club’s history, with scrumhalf Josh Holmes, flyhalf Christian Lealiifano, and centre combination of Tyrone Smith and Anthony Faingaa sharing just 10 Investec Super 14 caps between them.
However, the CA Brumbies’ new generation rose to the task with Smith taking man-of-the-match honours in his run-on debut in a performance that created a number of try-scoring opportunities and inflicted a bone-jarring tackle on his opposite number, Niva Ta’auso, midway through the first half. Faingaa marked his first starting appearance by scoring his side’s first try under the posts from a well-worked switch with Lealiifano before he succumbed to a medial ligament injury in his right knee in the 60th that is expected to sideline him for at least six weeks.
With captain George Smith forced off the field with a cork early in the second half, No.8 Stephen Hoiles was outstanding as he helped lead his forward pack with a barnstorming try after he bumped off one defender and carried James Wilson and Hayden Triggs across the line. The mobile back-rower brought the crowd of 14,284 to their feet again when he performed a heroic diving, ankle tap on an otherwise try-bound Fetu’u Vainikolo with the match in the balance with nine minutes remaining.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher said he was pleased to see his side take their first competition points of the season.
“It’s a tough competition, we were a lot of bodies down, we lost our captain early in the second half so it was a courageous effort,” he said. “There’s errors in our game, we didn’t defend how we wanted to defend, we gave up some easy gain line and we made some mistakes but I thought the courage of our side was absolutely fantastic.
“We know we’ve got a side that when the going gets tough, they will roll up their sleeves and work. What we take out of this game is what we need to do to be competitive in this competition this year. We need to identify those things and make sure we start to address them this week.”
Fullback Julian Huxley celebrated his new two-year contract with a composed performance and a powerful general kicking display. The 28 year old manufactured a number of attacking raids from quick-fire counter attack and deceptive footwork.
Huxley helped his side to a 17-7 half-time lead by converting Faingaa’s try and a 24th-minute penalty goal before adding the extras on a penalty try eight minutes from the break. Referee Craig Joubert awarded the penalty try after hooker Huia Edmonds was brought down by Triggs in a high tackle en route to the tryline.
The visitors responded with 13 second half points – including a steamrolling try to replacement forward Tim Boys – with Hoiles’ five-pointer midway through the term ensuring the CA Brumbies’ two-point win.
The CA Brumbies take on the Reds in their Investec Super 14 Week Three match at Canberra Stadium on 1 March.
CA Brumbies 22 (Anthony Faingaa, Stephen Hoiles, Penalty Try tries; Julian Huxley 2/3 conversions, penalty goal) defeated Highlanders 20 (Fetu’u Vainikolo, Chris King tries; James Wilson 2/2 conversions, 2/3 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)
Half time: CA Brumbies 17-7
Crowd: 14,284
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Huia Edmonds 
3. Guy Shepherdson 
4. Alister Campbell 
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. George Smith (c)
8. Stephen Hoiles 
9. Joshua Holmes
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Anthony Faingaa
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Mark Gerrard
15. Julian Huxley 
16. Saia Faingaa
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Julian Salvi
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Peter Playford
22. Afusipa Taumoepeau
20. Patrick Phibbs replaced 9. Joshua Holmes (44th minute)
16. Saia Faingaa replaced 2. Huia Edmonds (47th minute)
19. Julian Salvi replaced 6. George Smith (44th minute)
21. Peter Playford replaced 12. Anthony Faingaa (61st minute)
18. Peter Kimlin replaced 5. Mark Chisholm (69th minute)
1. Jamie Mackintosh
2. Jason Macdonald (c)
3. Clint Newland
4. Hayden Triggs
5. Tom Donnelly
6. Adam Thomson  
7. Alando Soakai
8. Steven Setephano
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Daniel Bowden
11. Fetu’u Vainikolo
12. John Leota
13. Niva Ta’auso
14. Paul Williams
15. James Wilson
16. David Hall
17. Chris King
18. Isaac Ross
19. Tim Boys/Ezra Taylor
20. Toby Morland
21. Mike Delany
22. Brett Mather
Investec Super 14 Week Three
CA Brumbies v Reds
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Saturday, 1 March 2008