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The CA Brumbies have celebrated their first bonus point win of the Investec Bank Super 14 season with a runaway 61-15 win over the Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium tonight.
Coming off the bye, the home side showed some early rustiness, unable to capitalise on countless try-scoring opportunities. However, the first half frustration was cast aside in the second term with the ACT running in six touchdowns in the nine-tries-to-two rout.
Prop Ben Alexander recorded his second two-try haul of the season while flanker Rocky Elsom was at his barnstorming best – carrying the ball forward at everyone opportunity, wrestling each Free State breakaway runner to the ground in cover defence and finishing with a try in a man-of-the-match performance.
CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend said while it was a pleasing result, there was room for improvement.
“We wanted to come out tonight and have a solid win and we did that,” he said. “There’s still way too many dropped ball and forced passes but at the end of the day to put 60 points on a side, we’ve obviously done something well.
“There was certainly frustration at half time. The boys just felt we were trying to force things rather than allow them to happen but we tightened things up and in the last 15 minutes we played some pretty good football.”
While the CA Brumbies held a lion’s share of early possession, it was the Cheetahs who recorded first points through the boot of Naas Olivier with a fifth minute penalty goal.
Presented with a golden opportunity to level the scores in the 10th minute, the CA Brumbies turned down a straightforward penalty goal opting instead to push for a try. Stephen Hoiles’ decision paid dividends when after seven phases the CA Brumbies captain burrowed over with TMO George Ayoub confirming the try.
Matt Giteau enjoyed a golden night with the boot with the inside centre converting the first six tries in a flawless goal kicking display.
A yellow card to Barend Pieterse in the 18th minute further handicapped the visitors, with Patrick Phibbs capitalising on the one-man advantage. With the CA Brumbies pressuring the Cheetahs’ line, the scrumhalf’s clearing pass was knocked down by his opposite number, Tewis de Bruyn, only to have Phibbs collect the ball on the bounce to dart through and score.
With three minutes remaining in the half, a simple switch pass from Giteau provided Tyrone Smith a clear path to the tryline to give his side a 21-3 lead at the break.
At 43 minutes the CA Brumbies’ bonus point try started with Giteau’s 40-metre run down the left side of the field and finished with Elsom skirting around the defensive line in the right-hand corner.
The visitors provided some resistance with second half tries to Sarel Pretorius and Adriaan Strauss but the best was yet to come from the home side.
Winger Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed for his first try after 56 minutes when he caught the defence napping with a quick tap on the Cheetahs’ 22-metre line, fending off Pretorius to dive over the line.
Holding a 42-15 lead with eight minutes remaining, the CA Brumbies added three late tries to blow out the winning margin.
Flyhalf Matt Toomua added a slick try at 72 minutes when he sliced through from 30 metres out and was fortunate not to incur any serious injury when he collided with the goal posts in the act of scoring.
Alexander, who crossed for his first at the 50-minute mark, added a second try with a trademark pick-and-drive from the back of a ruck with three minutes left in the game.
The home side provided the 14,111 spectators with a spectacular finish, scoring a final five-pointer from the restart of their previous try. Replacement hooker Huia Edmonds found space through the middle of the field and chipped through from 10 metres inside the Cheetahs’ half with the ball bouncing up perfectly to give winger Alfie Mafi his maiden Investec Bank Super 14 try. Fullback Julian Huxley added his second conversion from three attempts to complete the 46-point landslide.
The CA Brumbies will have a short turnaround in preparation for their match against the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on Friday, 16 April.
CA Brumbies 61 (Ben Alexander 2; Stephen Hoiles, Patrick Phibbs, Tyrone Smith, Rocky Elsom, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Alfie Mafi tries; Matt Giteau 6/6 conversions, Julian Huxley 2/3 conversions) defeated Cheetahs 15 (Sarel Pretorius, Adriaan Strauss tries; Naas Olivier 0/1 conversions, 1/1 penalty goals, Riaan Vijoen 1/1 conversion) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.
Half time: CA Brumbies 21-3
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZ)
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Salesi Ma’afu
4. Mitchell Chapman
5. Ben Hand
6. Rocky Elsom
7. Michael Hooper
8. Stephen Hoiles (c)
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Matt Toomua
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper
12. Matt Giteau
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Pat McCabe
15. Julian Huxley
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Guy Shepherdson
18. Mark Chisholm
19. Colby Faingaa
20. James Stannard
21. Ed Stubbs
22. Alfie Mafi
18. Mark Chisholm for 4. Mitchell Chapman (14th minute)
16. Huia Edmonds for 2. Stephen Moore (50th minute)
20. James Stannard for 9. Patrick Phibbs (blood – 50th minute)
19. Colby Faingaa for 7. Michael Hooper (55th minute)
17. Guy Shepherdson for 3. Salesi Ma’afu (56th minute)
21. Ed Stubbs for 12. Matt Giteau (61st minute)
22. Alfie Mafi for 11. Adam Ashley-Cooper (62nd minute)
9. Patrick Phibbs for 20. James Stannard (blood return – 64th minute)
20. James Stannard for 10. Matt Toomua (72nd minute)
1. Coenie Oosthuizen
2. Adriaan Strauss (c)
3. WP Nel
4. Izak van der Westhuizen
5. Waltie Vermeulen
6. Hendro Scholtz
7. Barend Pieterse
8. Kabamba Floors
9. Tewis de Bruyn
10. Naas Olivier
11. Jongi Nokwe
12. Meyer Bosman
13. Corne Uys
14. Wilmaure Louw
15. Hennie Daniller
16. Ryno Barnes
17. Wian du Preez
18. Nico Breedt
19. Davon Raubenheimer
20. Sarel Pretorius
21. Robert Ebersohn
22. Riaan Viljoen
7. Barend Pieterse (18th minute)
8. Kabamba Floors (77th minute)
Investec Bank Super 14: Week 10
CA Brumbies v Hurricanes
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Friday, 16 April 2010