CA Brumbies continue unbeaten Reds record

 The CA Brumbies have continued their unbeaten home record over the Queensland Reds with a convincing 43-11 win in their Investec Super 14 Week Three match at Canberra Stadium tonight.

Missing the likes of regular starting players Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Gene Fairbanks and Clyde Rathbone, the ‘baby CA Brumbies’ retained the Rod Macqueen Cup with their six-tries-to-one victory and were rewarded with rapturous full-time applause from the 15,244-strong Canberra crowd.
Mark Gerrard, who slotted into the fullback role when Julian Huxley was stretchered of the field in the second minute after sustaining a head knock, chimed in with his best performance of the season, kick-starting his side’s scoring with the opening try and extending the lead with a swag of five conversions and a penalty goal. The 25 year old, whose 62 career caps easily eclipsed the combined total of the remainder of his backline in Huxley’s absence, continually relieved pressure on the side with his thundering right boot to claim the CA/Dataflex Man of the Match.
The CA Brumbies back row were well served by their enthusiastic forward pack led by captain George Smith, hooker Saia Faingaa in his first start for the Canberra side, and flanker Mitch Chapman in his first hit-out against his former province. No.8 Stephen Hoiles was again workmanlike in his performance, covering the extent of field in defence and counter-attack as well as crossing for his second try in as many weeks.
In his first run-on start for the year, scrumhalf Patrick Phibbs was aggressive in defence and provided quality service for flyhalf Christian Lealiifano, who continued to orchestrate his inexperienced backline.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher, who ranked the win as “right up there” during his coaching tenure with the CA Brumbies, said he was proud of the performance of his young squad.
“It’s been a tough start to the year for us and to play like that is a wonderful credit to the 21 players who were out there tonight,” he said. “I thought Christian Lealiifano was tremendous out there and Leo Afeaki made a wonderful debut. Saia Faingaa in his first Super 14 starting game and at 20 years of age, the work he did out there tonight was terrific. I don’t want to single out individual blokes but there were some guys who were absolutely magnificent.
“We took a lot of confidence out of defending comprehensively in the first half and got a bit of adrenaline in the second half, a few things stuck for us and it paid off.”
Leading 10-3 at the break, Reds fullback Clinton Schifcofske narrowed the margin to four with a 43rd minute penalty goal before CA Brumbies lock Mark Chisholm stamped his authority on the match with a two-try rampage midway through the term.
Chisholm’s first five-pointer came when a passage miraculously opened for the storming second-rower to waltz through untouched before he found himself on the end of a Lealiifano cut-out pass eight minutes later to bump off Schifcofske and charge over for his second.
The home side kept the pressure on throughout the half with a yellow card to Reds reserve Peter Hynes (professional foul) sparking a three-try frenzy for the home side. Reserve front-rower Ben Alexander was the first to benefit when he burrowed over the line on debut while Peter Playford turned the defensive line inside out before making a last-ditch dive for the line for his first try for the CA Brumbies.
Reds No.8 John Roe marked his 100th Queensland cap with a late consolation try before a runaway Hoiles gave the vocal crowd a fitting finish when he raced down the right-hand flank to score in the corner with two minutes remaining.
The CA Brumbies take on the Waratahs in their Investec Super 14 Week Four match at the Sydney Football Stadium on 7 March.
CA Brumbies 43 (Mark Chisholm 2; Mark Gerrard, Ben Alexander, Peter Playford, Stephen Hoiles tries; Mark Gerrard 5/6 conversions, 1/2 penalty goal) defeated Reds 11 (John Roe try; Clinton Schifcofske 0/1 conversions, 2/2 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Paul Honiss (NZ)
Half time: CA Brumbies 10-3
Crowd: 15,244
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Saia Faingaa
3. Salesi Ma’afu
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison 
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. George Smith (c)
8. Stephen Hoiles 
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Tyrone Smith
13. Sanualio Afeaki
14. Mark Gerrard
15. Julian Huxley 
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Ben Alexander
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Julian Salvi
20. Joshua Holmes
21. Peter Playford
22. Afusipa Taumoepeau
21. Peter Playford replaced 15. Julian Huxley (3rd minute)
17. Ben Alexander replaced 3. Salesi Ma’afu (56th minute)
18. Peter Kimlin replaced 4. Adam Wallace-Harrison (59th minute)
20. Joshua Holmes replaced 9. Patrick Phibbs (59th minute)
16. Huia Edmonds replaced 2. Saia Faingaa (64th minute)
19. Julian Salvi replaced 5. Mark Chisholm (67th minute)
22. Afusipa Taumoepeau replaced 13. Sanualio Afeaki (72nd minute)
Yellow Card
11. Francis Fainifo (32nd minute)
Queensland Reds
1. Greg Holmes
2. Stephen Moore
3. Rodney Blake
4. Van Humphries
5. James Horwill
6. Leroy Houston
7. David Croft
8. John Roe (c)  
9. Will Genia
10. Berrick Barnes
11. Clinton Schifcofske
12. Chris Siale
13. Morgan Turinui
14. Digby Ioane
15. Chris Latham
16. Sean Hardman
17. Dayna Edwards
18. Ed O’Donoghue
19. AJ Gilbert
20. Ben Lucas
21. Peter Hynes
22. Quade Cooper
Yellow Card
21. Peter Hynes (68th minute)
Investec Super 14 Week Four
CA Brumbies v Waratahs
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Friday, 7 March 2008