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CA Technologies Brumbies fans are celebrating a nail-biting win with the ACT based team carrying a slender one point advantage to the full-time siren to beat the Hurricanes 17-16 at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
It had been seven weeks since the CA Technologies Brumbies had last tasted victory leaving the team with plenty to smile about as the full-time siren sounded.
A try to Fijian flyer Henry Speight highlighted the win, while Captain Matt Giteau was accurate enough with the boot to kick his team to victory.
Despite the CA Technologies Brumbies holding the early advantage with strong ball running and quality field position, it was the Hurricanes who opened the scoring when Aaron Cruden charged down Matt Toomua’s clearing kick, sliding over the line 20 meters right of the posts.
Cruden converted the try and the Hurricanes grabbed an early 7-0 lead.
But rather than roll over, the ACT team stuck strong spreading the ball wide and finding gaps in the Canes backline defence.
50 meter breaks to Giteau and then Speight had the Canes on the back foot, but drop ball and hungry defence proved the difference, keeping the CA Technologies Brumbies scoreless.
Two penalties to Giteau in the 24th and 28th minutes clawed the CA Technologies Brumbies back into the match.
A spanner was thrown in works with just eight minutes left in the first-half, when Adam Ashley-Cooper left the field with a hip injury bringing Pat McCabe into the attack for the first time in three weeks.
Ashley-Cooper was one of several injuries concerns, with Huia Edmonds and Speight also heading to medical staff for treatment. Their conditions will be better known by Monday.
The first half held plenty of penalties – with the CA Technologies Brumbies on the positive side of the count – which read 9-4 to the home team.
Eventually the Hurricanes would run up 16 penalties – the majority of which were from the breakdown – making it tough for the Wellington outfit to stay in the contest.
The CA Technologies Brumbies continued to hold the greater share of field position and momentum, and their free flowing play was eventually rewarded when Speight score a classy try left of the posts.
Stepping off his left foot twice, Speight made the most of his pace to sprint to the line and claim the five points.
The shot went wide, but the CA Technologies Brumbies had fought their way back into a tough contest.
Again the CA Technologies Brumbies started fast in the second half, but against the run of play the Hurricanes were awarded two penalties within kicking range to move back into the lead.
Further penalties to Giteau, who had a good night with the boot missing just one shot, gave the CA Technologies Brumbies the lead and they were able to hold on for a much celebrated win.
CA TECHNOLOGIES BRUMBIES 17 (Henry Speight try; Matt Giteau 4 pens) bt HURRICANES 16 (Aaron Cruden try, con; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2, Cruden pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Craig Joubert. Crowd: 12,233.
CA Technologies Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Huia Edmonds (replaced by Anthony Hegarty, 51 mins)
3. Salesi Ma’afu (replaced by Dan Palmer, 28 mins)
4. Ben Hand
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Peter Kimlin
7. Michael Hooper (replaced by Julian Salvi, 47 mins)
8. Ita Vaea (replaced by Colby Faingaa, 74 mins)
9. Josh Valentine
10. Matt Giteau
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper (replaced by Pat McCabe, 32 mins)
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Andrew Smith
14. Henry Speight (replaced by Tyrone Smith, 57 mins)
15. Matt Toomua
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Dan Palmer
18. Colby Faingaa
19. Julian Salvi
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Tyrone Smith
22. Patrick McCabe