CA Brumbies forced out in first loss for 2009

 The CA Brumbies have dropped their first match of the 2009 Investec Super 14 season, going down 25-16 to the Western Force at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The home side held a slender 9-8 lead at the break before the West Australians crossed three times in the second half with Force winger Cameron Shepherd scoring a hatrick for the match.
While the CA Brumbies’ set piece remained strong and the battle of the breakdown remained a split decision, the Canberra-based side’s lack of ball control was a key factor in the four-tries-to-one defeat.
“It was disappointing,” CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend said. “There were some aspects that I thought were very good. Our scrum and lineout were very, very good but our energy levels and our ability to control the football weren’t good so we need to work on that.
“We’ve got a week off this week and we’ve got to find some answers to why we were flat or slightly off. Hopefully we’ll come up with those answers and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
CA Brumbies fullback Mark Gerrard’s goalkicking radar was on song through the first half, landing penalty goals in the second and 25th minutes to establish an early 6-0 lead.
Shepherd reduced the margin to one when he set sail for the tryline down the left-hand wing with Force flyhalf Matt Giteau unable to add the extras.
While Gerrard and Giteau swapped penalty goals in the final ten minutes of the term, it was the CA Brumbies who held a 9-8 half-time advantage.
However, Shepherd’s second try four minutes after the break and one to No.8 Richard Brown six minutes later transformed the Force’s one-point deficit into a 20-9 lead midway through the half.
While momentum appeared to be in the visitors’ camp, a CA Brumbies raid into the attacking half reaped rewards in the 64th minute when the ACT forward pack forced a penalty try. After setting and re-setting a scrum five metres from the Force line, referee Matt Goddard awarded the try after ruling the Force to have pulled down the advancing CA Brumbies scrum. The decision provided Stirling Mortlock with a straightforward conversion to bring his side to within four points at 20-16.
Unfortunately the ACT side’s five-pointer only set the Force machine into motion again with Shepherd converting a one-man overlap to bring up his hatrick and the visitor’s bonus point while Giteau’s successful conversion extended the lead to 25-16.
While the CA Brumbies toiled hard to chip away at the lead in the closing minutes, a continued lack of ball control cruelled the home side’s hopes of pulling off a third consecutive last-ditch win.
The CA Brumbies will have their week off courtesy of the bye before resuming their campaign against the Waratahs on Friday, 13 March at Canberra Stadium.
Western Force 25 (Cameron Shepherd 3; Richard Brown tries; Matt Giteau 1/4 conversion, 1/2 penalty goals) defeated CA Brumbies 16 (Penalty Try; Stirling Mortlock 1/1 conversion, Mark Gerrard 3/4 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Matt Goddard (Aus)
Half time: CA Brumbies 9-8
Crowd: 15,893
CA Brumbies
1. Nic Henderson
2. Stephen Moore 
3. Guy Shepherdson 
4. Ben Hand 
5. Mark Chisholm 
6. Julian Salvi
7. George Smith 
8. Stephen Hoiles (c) 
9. Patrick Phibbs 
10. Christian Lealiifano 
11. Francis Fainifo 
12. Stirling Mortlock 
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 
14. Clyde Rathbone 
15. Mark Gerrard
16. John Ulugia 
17. Ben Alexander 
18. Sitaleki Timani 
19. Peter Kimlin
20. Joshua Holmes 
21. Tyrone Smith
22. Matt Toomua
17. Ben Alexander for 1. Nic Henderson (50th minute)
20. Joshua Holmes for 9. Patrick Phibbs (50th minute)
21. Tyrone Smith for 14. Clyde Rathbone (54th minute)
19. Peter Kimlin for 4. Ben Hand (54th minute)
18. Sitaleki Timani for 6. Julian Salvi (62nd minute)
22. Matt Toomua for 15. Mark Gerrard (68th minute)
1. Nic Henderson for 3. Guy Shepherdson (70th minute)
Western Force
1. Pek Cowan
2. Tai McIsaac
3. Ben Castle
4. Tom Hockings
5. Nathan Sharpe (c)
6. Matt Hodgson
7. David Pocock
8. Richard Brown
9. Josh Valentine
10. Matt Giteau
11. Nick Cummins
12. Junior Pelesasa
13. Ryan Cross
14. Cameron Shepherd
15. Drew Mitchell
16. Luke Holmes
17. Keiran Longbottom
18. Richard Stanford
19. Tamaiti Horua
20. Chris O’Young
21. James O’Connor
22. Haig Sare
Investec Super 14 Week Five
CA Brumbies v Waratahs
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Friday, 13 March 2009