CA Brumbies squeezed out by Waratahs

 The CA Brumbies will return to Canberra with a lone bonus point after narrowly falling to the Waratahs, 24-17, in their Investec Super 14 Week Four match at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.

A late points surge in the dying minutes of the first term allowed the visitors to hold a 17-10 half-time lead, before conceding two unanswered tries in the second half.
The visitors were enthusiastic and aggressive in defence with the inexperienced inside backs leading the way through some stinging hits on their opposite numbers. Flyhalf Christian Lealiifano and outside centre Leo Afeaki were consistent in knocking off Waratahs ball-runners while Tyrone Smith executed a number of trademark bone-jarring tackles, including a big hit on Waratahs flyhalf Kurtley Beale, which was deemed illegal and worthy of a yellow card by referee James Leckie.
Lealiifano continued to take the ball to the line in attack and kept the New South Welshmen on the back foot with a smart short kicking game, while fullback Mark Gerrard was again on song with his long range kicks.
The CA Brumbies back row continued to stand out with George Smith and Mitch Chapman taking the ball forward, while Stephen Hoiles continued his high work rate including a number of powerful, grounding tackles. Reserve flanker Julian Salvi was quick to make an impact during a number of early blood replacements, including crossing for his first try for the CA Brumbies to ignite the visitor’s first-half comeback.
CA Brumbies captain George Smith said his young side would need to bounce back from the hard-fought encounter.
“We don’t want to use [the conditions] as an excuse,” he said. “You do have to adapt to those conditions, we forced a lot of errors out there and it’s a stark contrast to last week.
“But we’ll move on and rebuild from that and perform well against the Hurricanes next week.”
A Beale penalty goal and Tom Carter try gave the home side an early 10-0 lead before the CA Brumbies laid on 17 points in eight minutes to take a seven-point advantage at the break.
Salvi, who was amongst the CA Brumbies’ best, crossed from the back of a well-worked scrum move in the 32nd minute, carrying Alfi Mafi and Brett Sheehan across the line. Gerrard, who landed a conversion from each touchline, added a late penalty goal before Peter Playford crossed for his second try in as many weeks on the stroke of half time. After stringing together multiple phases, the CA Brumbies attacked the short side with Tyrone Smith delivering a short pass for Playford to cross in the corner, despite the best efforts of Waratahs flanker Rocky Elsom.
The Waratahs returned fire midway through the second stanza when a loose CA Brumbies pass popped up for Lote Tuqiri and gifted the NSW winger an uninterrupted path to the try line. Having again leveled the scores, replacement lock Dean Mumm stole the result for his side when he charged down a Lealiifano chip kick before running the required 35 metres to score.
The CA Brumbies host the Hurricanes in their Investec Super 14 Week Five match at Canberra Stadium on 14 March.
Waratahs 24 (Tom Carter, Lote Tuqiri, Dean Mumm tries; Kurtley Beale 3/3 conversions, 1/2 penalty goal, Lachlan Turner 0/1 penalty goal) defeated CA Brumbies 17 (Julian Salvi, Peter Playford tries; Mark Gerrard 2/2 conversions, 1/1 penalty goal) at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.
Referee: James Leckie (Aus)
Half time: CA Brumbies 17-10
Crowd: 32,371
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. Peter Playford
15. Mark Gerrard
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Ben Alexander
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Julian Salvi
20. Joshua Holmes
21. Afusipa Taumoepeau
22. Tim Wright
19. Julian Salvi replaced 7. George Smith (24th minute – blood)
16. Huia Edmonds replaced 2. Saia Faingaa (25th minute – blood)
7. George Smith replaced 6. Mitchell Chapman (34th minute – blood/blood return)
20. Joshua Holmes replaced 9. Patrick Phibbs (40th minute)
19. Julian Salvi replaced 6. Mitchell Chapman (40th minute – blood return)
18. Peter Kimlin replaced 4. Adam Wallace-Harrison (50th minute)
16. Huia Edmonds replaced 2. Saia Faingaa (51st minute)
17. Ben Alexander replaced 3. Salesi Ma’afu (63rd minute)
22. Tim Wright replaced 14. Peter Playford (63rd minute)
19. Julian Salvi replaced 5. Mark Chisholm (67th minute)
Yellow Card
12. Tyrone Smith (28th minute)
NSW Waratahs
1. Sekope Kepu
2. Adam Freier
3. Matt Dunning
4. Will Caldwell
5. Dan Vickerman
6. Rocky Elsom
7. Phil Waugh (c)
8. Wycliff Palu
9. Brett Sheehan
10. Kurtley Beale
11. Lote Tuqiri
12. Tom Carter
13. Ben Jacobs
14. Alfi Mafi
15. Lachie Turner          
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. Al Baxter
18. Dean Mumm
19. Beau Robinson
20. Luke Burgess
21. Sam Harris
22. Rob Horne
Investec Super 14 Week Five
CA Brumbies v Hurricanes
Canberra Stadium, Canberra