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The wait is over for desperate CA Technologies Brumbies fans as the team was rewarded for its courageous efforts in 2011 with a memorable win over the Reds, 22-14, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
In winning the match at Suncorp, the CA Technologies Brumbies ended the Reds run of 12-straight victories at home.
No one in Australian rugby had tipped the Canberra side to win, with bookmakers blowing the CA Technologies Brumbies out to $8 as late as 5pm on Saturday afternoon.
But someone forgot to mention all that to the CA Technologies Brumbies – a team which has come within inches of victory against top sides in many of their contests this year but left with little reward.
Rock-solid defence has become a major element of the team’s routine, having scrambled and solidified making the last four week’s opponents work for every metre they made.
The Reds match was no exception.
Despite having the vast majority of ball and far more scoring opportunities, the Reds could not find a way through the CA Technologies Brumbies defence. And when scoring opportunities came along, they were taken nine times out of 10 – Giteau’s kicking boots proving the difference in the end.
Stephen Moore was again among the CA Technologies Brumbies best in both defence and attack. The hooker’s try came 20 minutes into the fixture after he steamed onto the ball from an Ita Vaea break.
Vaea also made a huge impact, but faces a nervous wait over night as he prepares for a judicial hearing after being cited for a hit on Digby Ioane which left the Wallaby winger unconscious.
On replay, it appears Ioane fell into the tackle and CA Technologies Brumbies staff were preparing a defence late on Saturday night.
It was a night that will be remembered by many of the team’s most popular members for different reasons. Nic White made his Super Rugby debut, Jerry Yanuyanutawa his run-on debut, Ben Hand his 50th Super Rugby appearance and sadly, Mark Chisholm’s 102nd and final CA Technologies Brumbies cap.
Chisholm damaged his knee and will be sidelined for some time. The champion lock is one of just two players to have played in the 2004 title winning team still in camp (along with Giteau) and will be sorely missed both on and off the field.
The first 38 minutes of the opening half were just what the CA Technologies Brumbies needed. Four penalties to Matt Giteau spread over the session as well as Moore’s converted try had the ACT based team in front and looking the dominant side.
The Reds looked to exploit both sides of the field, using their width to stretch the CA technologies Brumbies defence – Digby Ioane, Radike Samo and Ben Lucas all managing to find them selves in space.
Unfortunately for the visitors, they couldn’t hold the Reds out before the break, Lucas bouncing off the ground to place the ball with just two minutes left in the half to keep the Queenslanders in the game.
The kick went wide – leaving the CA Technologies Brumbies in the lead at 19-11 going into the sheds.
And while that score would scarcely change in the second half, plenty of action took place including a heated exchange with Rob Simmons and Ben Hand, with more than a few hay-makers shared between the opposing locks.
Cooper was dangerous and highly involved, particularly in the later stages as the CA Technologies Brumbies forwards tired under the heavy load of defence.
The Wallaby No 10 had all CA Technologies Brumbies fans on edge when he made a clean break with his team just five-points behind, but even he couldn’t find ways through final wall of defence.
One penalty goal each – the CA Technologies Brumbies after the siren to deny the Reds a bonus point – kept the margin at eight points after fulltime.
CA TECHNOLOGIES BRUMBIES 22 (Stephen Moore try Matt Giteau con 5 pens) bt QUEENSLAND REDS 14 (Ben Lucas try Quade Cooper 3 pens) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Garratt Williamson. Crowd: 27,378.
CA Technologies Brumbies
1. Ben Alexander
2. Stephen Moore
3. Jerry Yanuyanutawa (replaced by Jono Owen)
4. Ben Hand (replaced by Peter Kimlin)
5. Mark Chisholm (replaced by Henry Vanderglas)
6. Mitchell Chapman
7. Julian Salvi
8. Ita Vaea
9. Patrick Phibbs (replaced by Nic White)
10. Matt Giteau
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper
12. Pat McCabe
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Christian Lealiifano
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Jono Owen (replaced by Jerry Yanuyanutawa)
18. Peter Kimlin
19. Henry Vanderglas
20. Nic White (replaced by Robbie Coleman)
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Andrew Smith