CA Brumbies survive Shark attack

 The CA Brumbies have staged a dramatic second-half comeback to defeat the Sharks 27-21 in their Investec Super 14 Week 10 fixture at Canberra Stadium this evening.

Subscribing to the sporting cliche of ‘a game of two halves’, the CA Brumbies entered half time 18-7 down before launching a stunning revival, scoring 20 unanswered points in the first 30 minutes of the second term.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Laurie Fisher said the he was proud of his side’s “courageous” performance.
“We didn’t have a lot of possession in the first half,” he said. “We couldn’t buy a scrum, we lost our first couple of lineouts and they were hard at the ruck.
“I think we had 15 rucks in the first half and halfway through the second half we’d had 55. We just made them work for the first 20 in the second half and we got a bit of confidence out of that. 
“When you play against a side that’s undefeated in the competition and they have a lot of self belief, and we’ve gone in with six or seven unavailable for the game and losing our captain [Stirling Mortlock] early in the week, I think it’s a fairly stunning performance by us in the second half.”
The visitors owned the majority of first-half possession, capitalising on the advantage through a Rory Kockott penalty, a drop goal to Francois Steyn and a try to rampaging No.8 Ryan Kankowski to take a 13-0 lead after 34 minutes.
The lone scoring reprieve for the CA Brumbies came in the 37th minute when outside centre Adam Ashley-Cooper intercepted a Steyn pass to run 30 metres and score adjacent to the posts. 
However, the Springboks utility didn’t wait long to exact revenge when he crossed off a short pass from a Kankowski break with 40 seconds remaining to extend the half-time margin to 11 points.
With their season in the balance, the CA Brumbies began the second stanza with renewed vigour, controlling possession for as many as 18 phases at a time.                                                                                                                                                                                     
A yellow card to Kankowski allowed the Canberra side to continue their multi-phase attack deep within the Sharks’ half before No.8 Julian Salvi drove through the defensive line to score his third try of the season 10 minutes into the second half.
Two penalty goals to Gerrard – the second on the back of a Steyn yellow card – gave the CA Brumbies a 20-18 advantage and the lead for the first time in the match before Ashley-Cooper found himself on the end of a backline overlap to cross for his second try of the night and extend the lead eight minutes from full time.
While a late Ruan Pienaar penalty goal brought the Sharks to within six points, the CA Brumbies hung on in the dying seconds to maintain their 2008 finals aspirations.
The CA Brumbies will face the Lions in their final regular season home fixture at Canberra Stadium on Friday, 25 April.
CA Brumbies 27 (Adam Ashley-Cooper 2; Julian Salvi try; Mark Gerrard 3/3 conversions, 2/3 penalty goals) defeated Sharks 21 (Ryan Kankowski, Francois Steyn tries; Rory Kockott 1/2 conversions, 2/3 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZ)
Half time: CA Brumbies 18-7
Crowd: 13,874
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Saia Faingaa 
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Alister Campbell
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. George Smith
8. Julian Salvi
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Tyrone Smith
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Peter Playford
15. Mark Gerrard
16. John Ulugia
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Peter Kimlin 
19. Ben Alexander
20. Stephen Hoiles
21. Joshua Holmes
22. Sanualio Afeaki
18. Peter Kimlin replaced 4. Alister Campbell (50th minute)
19. Ben Alexander replaced 1. Nic Henderson (50th minute)
20. Joshua Holmes replaced 9. Patrick Phibbs (50th minute)
20. Stephen Hoiles replaced 6. Mitchell Chapman (50th minute)
16. John Ulugia replaced 2. Saia Faingaa (58th minute)
17. Salesi Ma’afu replaced 3. Guy Shepherdson (58th minute)
1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Bismarck du Plessis
3. BJ Botha
4. Steven Sykes
5. Johann Muller (c)
6. Keegan Daniel
7. Jacques Botes
8. Ryan Kankowski
9. Rory Kockott
10. Frederic Michalak
11. JP Pieterson
12. Bradley Barritt
13. Francois Steyn
14. Odwa Ngundane
15. Stefan Terblanche           
16. Craig Burden
17. Deon Carstens
18. Albert van den Berg
19. AJ Venter
20. Ruan Pienaar
21. Waylon Murray
22. Adrian Jacobs
Yellow Cards:
8. Ryan Kankowski (49th minute)
13. Francois Steyn (67th minute)
Investec Super 14 Week Nine
CA Brumbies v Lions
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Friday, 25 April 2008