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The CA Technologies Brumbies have fought off a late charge from the Chiefs to open their 2011 Super Rugby campaign with a hard-fought win at Canberra Stadium, 28-20.
Classy tries to Franky Fainifo and rookie Robbie Coleman highlighted a fixture where the CA Technologies Brumbies controlled play for the majority of the game.
A try after the siren to Lelia Masaga and another slow spot following half time saw the Chiefs score tries through Sitiveni Sivivatu and Tawera Kerr-Barlowon, but three penalties from Giteau helped the ACT based team hang on for the win.
With four new players being named for the hit out earlier in the week, the CA Technologies Brumbies were looking for a fast start to settle the nerves.
Line breaks from Robbie Coleman, Pat McCabe, Matt Giteau and Franky Fainifo had a positive impact on the game while scrabbling defence kept the Chiefs scoreless on several occasions
One particularly encouraging element of the match for CA Technologies Brumbies fans was the combination that has continued to flourish between Giteau and Coleman. The pair look to have formed a formidable combination early in the season, with Giteau dubbing the youngster the Prince of Queanbeyan.
Who really reigns supreme in Queanbeyan has been left open to debate, but what can be confirmed is that Coleman is an exciting player with plenty of talent.
Kicking off and running to the southern end of the stadium, the CA Technologies Brumbies took control of the game from the outset, mounting early pressure after winning the ball back from the kick-off.
After just three minutes, that pressure was turned into the first points of the 2011 season, when Giteau slotted a penalty goal from right in front to take the ACT based side out to a three-point lead.
Coleman scored his first Super Rugby try just five minutes later to the applause of home fans, breaking through traffic before putting a right foot step on Mils Muliaina to score under the posts.
Coleman’s early form was eye catching. And while he was hesitant to cop the new nickname, Coleman was confident there would be more to come from his combination with Giteau.
“He (Giteau) thinks he’s the King, that’s what he will tell you,” Coleman said.
“I’m not sure about the nickname but I’ll wear it. It’s been a pretty exciting couple of weeks for me personally though.
“I feel like we started well. It was always our intention to get the ball out wide and attack. It was good to get that first try under my belt and I’m looking forward to rest of the season.”
Fainifo’s try came after Chiefs prop Nathan White was sent to the bin for an infringement at the breakdown leaving the Waikato based team a man down. Fainifo, who showed express pace down his left wing after finding himself on the end of an overlap 20 meters out, took the score to 18-0 as the two sides hit the sheds for half time.
The second half started slowly, with the Chiefs finding more enthusiasm in the break leading to tries for Sitiveni Sivivatu and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
Adding to that a penalty goal from Stephen Donald and the Chiefs were looking to pounce on the CA Technologies Brumbies closing within three points.
For a thirty-minute period, the CA Technologies Brumbies looked to switch off, scoring only through the boot of Giteau. It was the only downside to the game for the CA Technologies Brumbies and gives Head Coach Andy Friend something to ponder next week at training.
During the period, the Chiefs managed to pile on 15 points and crawl within three of the CA Technologies Brumbies. But a late try to replacement prop Salesi Ma’afu, who replaced Dan Palmer with a hip complaint, put the CA Technologies Brumbies out to an unreachable 28-15 point lead.
While disappointing, Masaga’s late effort did nothing effect the outcome of the game, with the CA Technologies Brumbies running out eventual winners 28-20.
CA TECHNOLOGIES BRUMBIES 28 (Robbie Coleman, Francis Fainifo, Salesi Ma'afu tries Matt Giteau 2 cons 3 pens) bt CHIEFS 20 (Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Lelia Masaga, Sitiveni Sivivatu tries Stephen Donald con pen) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan. Crowd: 13,227.
CA Technologies Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Steve Moore (replaced by Huia Edmonds)
3. Dan Palmer * (replaced by Salesi Ma’afu)
4. Ben Hand (replaced by Colby Faingaa)
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Mitch Chapman
7. Julian Salvi
8. Ita Vaea ** (replaced by Stephen Hoiles)
9. Josh Valentine (replaced by Pat Phibbs)
10. Matt Giteau ©
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Robbie Coleman
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. Henry Speight ** (replaced by Andrew Smith)
15. Pat McCabe
**Denotes Super Rugby debut
*Denotes first CA Technologies Brumbies game
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Salesi Ma'afu
18. Stephen Hoiles
19. Colby Faingaa
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Matt Toomua
22. Andrew Smith
1. Ben May
2. Aled de Malmanche
3. Nathan White
4. Craig Clarke
5. Romana Graham
6. Liam Messam
7. Tanerau Latimer
8. Fritz Lee
9. Brendon Leonard
10. Stephen Donald
11. Sitiveni Sivivatu
12. Tana Umaga
13. Dwayne Sweeney
14. Tim Nanai-Williams
15. Mils Muliaina
16. Daniel Perrin
17. Toby Smith
18. Hayden Triggs
19. Scott Waldrom
20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
21. Jackson Willison
22. Lelia Masaga