CA Brumbies beaten in Pretoria by Bulls

An inspired first half performance has been negated by a lack of discipline in the CA Brumbies’ 50-32 loss to the Bulls at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld this evening.

The ACT side had the better of the first stanza, running in two early tries and looking like genuine title contenders before a lopsided penalty count through the remainder of the match allowed the Bulls to take the match by a margin of five-tries-to-three.

The visitors had an ideal start when they were gifted a penalty from the kick-off with outside centre Stirling Mortlock obliging through a 30-metre goal to give his side an early three-point lead.

Having missed a long-range penalty attempt four minutes earlier, Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked his first of 35 points for the game in the 12th minute in a man-of-the-match performance that featured two tries, five conversions and five penalty goals.

In his first appearance for the CA Brumbies, flanker Rocky Elsom inspired his side’s early charge, tearing into the Bulls’ runners and running the ball at the defensive line with venom. Elsom converted his early form into points at the 14-minute mark when the ball was pushed wide with the Wallabies captain shrugging off one defender and carrying another two to score in the corner.

Another Steyn penalty reduced the Bulls’ deficit to 8-6 before Elsom found himself in the action again. The rampaging flanker latched onto opposing scrumhalf Fourie du Preez before ripping the ball from his grasp on the 40-metre line, running to within 15 metres of the try line and linking with Stephen Hoiles who forwarded the ball on to George Smith to cross for his first Investec Bank Super 14 try since 2006.

Mortlock added two further penalty goals prior to the break which was matched by tries to du Preez and Steyn for the Northern Transvaal province with the Bulls flyhalf contributing an additional penalty to trail 21-20 at the break.

A Matt Giteau drop goal and Mortlock penalty extended the CA Brumbies’ margin to 27-20 by the 50-minute mark, however, the advantage was soon erased with the side continually falling foul of referee Mark Lawrence.

The run of penalties allowed the Bulls to add 30 unanswered points in the final half hour of the match before CA Brumbies rookie winger Pat McCabe capitalised on some excellent ball movement to score his first Investec Bank Super 14 try on the stroke of full time.

While disappointed with the result, CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend said the loss did have a silver lining.

“When you get beaten like we did you can’t be overly happy with it,” he said. “We can definitely take some positives out of it and the lesson we got given there tonight is probably one of the big positives.

“We played the champion team and they taught us to be the champion team you’ve got to have intensity for 80 minutes. We had intensity for passages and when we did I thought we looked tremendous but we knocked off for too many periods throughout the game. Our discipline let us down and we gave away seven penalties in a 16-minute period when we were up by seven points. When you do that against any team – let alone the Bulls – they’re going to hurt you.”

The CA Brumbies will depart for Cape Town tomorrow before taking on the Stormers at Newlands on Friday, 26 February.

Bulls 50 (Morne Steyn 2; Fourie du Preez, Gerhard van den Heever, Wynand Olivier tries; Morne Steyn 5/5 conversions, 5/6 penalty goals, 0/1 drop goals) defeated CA Brumbies 32 (Rocky Elsom, George Smith, Pat McCabe tries; Stirling Mortlock 1/3 conversions, 4/4 penalty goals, Matt Giteau 1/1 drop goal) at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Half time: CA Brumbies 21-20
Referee: Mark Lawrence (RSA)
Crowd: 31,569

CA Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Salesi Ma’afu
4. Justin Harrison
5. Mark Chisholm
6. Rocky Elsom
7. George Smith
8. Stephen Hoiles (c)
9. Josh Valentine
10. Matt Giteau
11. Francis Fainifo
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Stirling Mortlock
14. Pat McCabe
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Guy Shepherdson
18. Ben Hand
19. Mitchell Chapman
20. Patrick Phibbs
21. Matt Toomua
22. Tyrone Smith

16. Huia Edmonds for 2. Stephen Moore (46th minute)
18. Ben Hand for 4. Justin Harrison (46th minute)
17. Guy Shepherdson for 3. Salesi Ma’afu (60th minute)
19. Mitchell Chapman for 5. Mark Chisholm (60th minute)
20. Patrick Phibbs for 9. Josh Valentine (60th minute)
22. Tyrone Smith for 11. Francis Fainifo (64th minute)
21. Matt Toomua for 10. Matt Giteau (72nd minute)

1. Gurthro Steenkamp
2. Gary Botha
3. Werner Kruger
4. Flip van der Merwe
5. Victor Matfield (c)
6. Deon Stegmann
7. Pedrie Wannenburg
8. Pierre Spies
9. Fourie du Preez
10. Morne Steyn
11. Francois Hougaard
12. Wynand Olivier
13. Stephan Dippenaar
14. Gerhard van den Heever
15. Zane Kirchner

16. Bandise Maku
17. Bees Roux
18. Fudge Mabeta
19. Derrick Kuun
20. Heini Adams
21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter
22. John Mametsa


Investec Bank Super 14: Week Three
CA Brumbies v Stormers
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Friday, 26 February 2010

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