CA Brumbies claim emotional seven-point win

 The CA Brumbies have ended an emotional week by defeating the Stormers 17-10 at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The home side paid tribute to lock Shawn Mackay, who passed away on Monday in a Durban hospital, with black armbands, a moment’s applause, flags at half mast, embroidery on their jerseys and by retiring the ‘18’ jersey – worn by Mackay – before rounding out the evening with a seven-point victory over the Cape Town-based side.
On a rain sodden Canberra Stadium surface, both sides struggled with the greasy ball and were forced to rely on a strong kicking game in order to make inroads into the opposition’s half. Fullback Mark Gerrard turned in another strong performance and shouldered a majority of the CA Brumbies’ long-range kicking game while flyhalf Christian Lealiifano also contributed by continually tucking the football in behind the Stormers’ defensive line.
The ACT starting pack also worked tirelessly for the entire match, with the front row of Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Guy Shepherdson, who was named the CA/Dataflex Man of the Match, setting a strong platform in an impressive 80-minute performance.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend says his side showed a lot of spirit to come away with the four points.
“I’m very proud of the boys,” he said. “They showed a lot of character again, it’s been a difficult week but they were always going to turn up tonight and they did that.
“Tonight we didn’t talk much about Shawn, not because we didn’t want to but because we’d done a lot of talking and thinking about him during the course of the week; tonight was a night to play rugby.”
Against the top defensive line in the Investec Super 14, the CA Brumbies were forced to rely on the boot of Gerrard for any points in the first half, with the fullback potting three first half penalty goals to give his side a 9-0 half time lead.
Stormers centre Jean de Villiers ensured that the response after the break was swift when he claimed the ball on the halfway line before running around and then through the CA Brumbies defensive line to score. Peter Grant converted his captain’s 43rd minute touchdown to bring his side to within two points at 9-7.
Gerrard added another penalty six minutes later before replacement half Patrick Phibbs, a schoolmate and close friend of Mackay’s, slid over from the base of a ruck on the Stormers line to extend the lead to 17-7 at the 59-minute mark.
Grant managed a penalty goal with 13 minutes remaining to get his side to within striking distance, however, the CA Brumbies’ defensive line continued to repel any further Stormers’ raids for a 17-10 victory.
The win draws the CA Brumbies to within two competition points of the top four as they next take on the Bulls at Canberra Stadium on Friday, 17 April.
CA Brumbies 17 (Patrick Phibbs try; Mark Gerrard 0/1 conversions, 4/4 penalty goals, 0/1 drop goal, Christian Lealiifano 0/1 drop goal) defeated Stormers 10 (Jean de Villiers try; Peter Grant 1/1 conversions, 1/2 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Paul Marks (Aus)
Half time: CA Brumbies 9-0
Crowd: 14,565
CA Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore 
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Ben Hand 
5. Peter Kimlin
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. George Smith (c)
8. Julian Salvi
9. Joshua Holmes 
10. Christian Lealiifano 
11. Alfi Mafi 
12. Tyrone Smith
13. Stirling Mortlock
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Mark Gerrard
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Salesi Ma’afu 
25. Sitaleki Timani 
19. Henry Vanderglas
20. Patrick Phibbs 
21. Gene Fairbanks
22. Francis Fainifo
20. Patrick Phibbs for 9. Joshua Holmes (52nd minute)
21. Gene Fairbanks for 11. Alfi Mafi (59th minute)
1. JD Moller
2. Schalk Brits
3. Brian Mujati
4. Adriaan Fondse
5. AJ Venter
6. Schalk Burger
7. Duane Vermeulen
8. Luke Watson
9. Ricky Januarie
10. Peter Grant
11. Sireli Naqalevuki
12. Jean de Villiers (c)
13. Gcobani Bobo
14. Wylie Human
15. Conrad Jantjes
16. Tiaan Liebenberg
17. Wicus Blaauw
18. Hilton Lobberts
19. Morgan Newman
20. Dewaldt Duvenage
21. Willem de Waal
22. Dylan des Fountain
Investec Super 14 Week 10
CA Brumbies v Bulls
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Friday, 17 April 2009