CA Brumbies rush Bulls for bonus point win

 The CA Brumbies have claimed a dramatic bonus-point win over the Bulls, 32-31, at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The Canberra-based side came from behind to score nine unanswered points in the last 10 minutes, culminating in flyhalf Christian Lealiifano crossing under the posts to give Stirling Mortlock a straightforward match-winning conversion four minutes from full time.
Having lost fullback Mark Gerrard (hamstring) and winger Alfi Mafi (groin) to injuries during the week, the CA Brumbies received a further personnel blow just four minutes into the match when hooker Stephen Moore was stretchered off the field. However, the loss of their Wallaby rake did little to dampen the spirits of his side with flanker Mitchell Chapman bursting onto a well-timed Joshua Holmes pass from close range to open the scoring at the five-minute mark.
Mortlock, who made his first start on the CA Brumbies wing since Week 9 during the 1999 Super 12 tournament, converted the try and added an eighth minute penalty goal to give his side an early 10-0 lead.
Two minutes later and with momentum going the way of the home side, the CA Brumbies launched yet another attack into the visitors’ quarter that resulted in Bulls winger Bryan Habana intercepting a looping Lealiifano cut-out pass to race 80 metres and score under the posts.
The first-half, point-scoring frenzy continued when lock Peter Kimlin touched down on a loose ball off the top of a Bulls lineout close to their line. Kimlin’s 16th-minute try and resulting 17-7 lead should have been extended two minutes later when Lealiifano found 70 metres of open space but was unable to link with winger Francis Fainifo.
A 26th-minute try to Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner and conversion and penalty goal to Morne Steyn leveled the scores at the 17-all after 31 minutes, before CA Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles signaled his return from a knee injury by making a winding path through the Bulls defence then outpaced Kirchner to the corner on the stroke of half time.
The CA Brumbies’ 22-17 half-time lead was overtaken in the 60th minute when Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies and Steyn each chimed in with jinking runs to allow Wynand Olivier to reach over the line and grab a two-point lead. Spies then registered a try of his own – and his fifth for the season – seven minutes later with Steyn’s conversion giving the Bulls a 31-22 advantage.
The CA Brumbies almost responded immediately before Tyrone Smith failed to ground the ball cleanly just centimetres from the line. Mortlock reduced the deficit by three points through a 70th-minute penalty goal to eclipse former Waratahs fullback Matthew Burke as Australia’s highest-ever Super Rugby point scorer.
Mortlock’s goal kicking was called upon again to win the match following Lealiifano’s determined 76th-minute try from first receiver.
The CA Brumbies have an eight-day turnaround before fronting the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday, 25 April.                                                                                                                                                                                  
CA Brumbies 32 (Mitchell Chapman, Peter Kimlin, Stephen Hoiles, Christian Lealiifano tries; Stirling Mortlock 3/4 conversions, 2/4 penalty goals) defeated Bulls 31 (Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies tries; Morne Steyn 4/4 conversions, 1/2 penalty goals, 0/1 drop goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Referee: Chris Pollock (NZ)
Half time: CA Brumbies 22-17
Crowd: 14,021
CA Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore 
3. Guy Shepherdson
4. Ben Hand 
5. Peter Kimlin
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. George Smith 
8. Stephen Hoiles (c)
9. Joshua Holmes 
10. Christian Lealiifano 
11. Stirling Mortlock
12. Gene Fairbanks
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Francis Fainifo
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Salesi Ma’afu 
25. Sitaleki Timani 
19. Julian Salvi
20. Patrick Phibbs 
21. Matt Toomua
22. Afusipa Taumoepeau
16. Huia Edmonds for 2. Stephen Moore (4th minute)
17. Salesi Ma’afu for 6. Mitchell Chapman (35th minute)
6. Mitchell Chapman for 17. Salesi Ma’afu (37th minute)
25. Sitaleki Timani for 4. Ben Hand (40th minute)
19. Julian Salvi for 8. Stephen Hoiles (49th minute)
17. Salesi Ma’afu for 3. Guy Shepherdson (58th minute)
20. Patrick Phibbs for 9. Joshua Holmes (63rd minute)
22. Afusipa Taumoepeau for 14. Francis Fainifo (63rd minute)
21. Matt Toomua for 10. Christian Lealiifano (76th minute)
Yellow Cards
3. Guy Shepherdson (26th minute)
1. Gurthro Steenkamp
2. Derick Kuun
3. Werner Kruger
4. Danie Rossouw
5. Wilhelm Steenkamp
6. Dewald Potgieter
7. Pedrie Wannenburg
8. Pierre Spies
9. Fourie du Preez (c)
10. Morne Steyn
11. Bryan Habana
12. Wynand Olivier
13. JP Nel
14. Akona Ngundane
15. Zane Kirchner
16. Jaco Engels
17. Rayno Gerber
18. Deon Stegmann
19. Chiliboy Ralepelle
20. Heini Adams
21. Burton Francis
22. Jaco Pretorius
Investec Super 14 Week 11
CA Brumbies v Hurricanes
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, 25 April 2009