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The CA Technologies Brumbies have sent off four long-time servants of the club with an impressive win over the Rebels in their last home game of 2011 at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
Matt Giteau, Mitchell Chapman, Patrick Phibbs and Adam Ashley-Cooper all said goodbye to Canberra Stadium with smiles on their faces – Giteau sealing the occasion with a try, a penalty and two conversions.
The return to Canberra Stadium of seven x-CA Technologies Brumbies – including former Captain Stirling Mortlock – was not enough to spur the Rebels on to win in the chilly-Canberra conditions.
Giteau thanked the Brumbies Rugby crowd and saluted his team mates after the game.
“There’s been some people here who have supported the Brumbies from day one, and obviously supported me as well so that was pretty special, the chance to thank them for their support,” Giteau said.
“It was certainly cold, but it was worth it.
“What you take away from it and miss the most is the friendships, seeing these guys day to day.
“Your good times, your bad times, the friendships you make are the thing you’ll miss the most.”
The CA Technologies Brumbies withstood a late challenge from the Rebels which saw the Melbourne side cross for two tries in 10 minutes – but for the greater part the Canberra team took control, dominating every aspect of the game to claim consecutive wins.
As they have all year, the CA Technologies Brumbies shot out to an early lead when Christian Lealiifano found himself in space 30 metres out. The Melbourne-raised fullback hit the ball with pace, slipping around Cooper Vuna to open the bidding for the CA Technologies Brumbies.
Giteau’s conversion attempt was waved wide, and with a penalty to the Rebels through Danny Cipriani’s boot Melbourne were just two behind, 5-3 after 12 minutes of play.
And while the Rebels continued to hold ball in the CA Technologies Brumbies own half, a counter penalty to Giteau pushed the lead back to five points.
Pat McCabe’s move to inside centre again proved a master stroke before 20 minutes had been played, cutting the Rebels ruck to shreds on two occasions and certainly giving Wallabies World Cup selectors some food for thought.
The CA Technologies Brumbies second try involved some personal brilliance from Tyrone Smith – standing up Vuna again with a big fend to dart down the right side and extending his team’s lead to 13-3.
The CA Technologies Brumbies third try of the half was an interesting one, with Giteau taking advantage of a Rebels slip in concentration while Mortlock argued with the referee to score on his last appearance at Canberra Stadium.
Unfortunately the kick again went wide – this time Lealiifano taking the shot but keeping it right – the home-team’s lead out to 18-3 going into the half time break.
The CA Technologies Brumbies knew a good start to the second half was vital if they were to hang on for back-to-back wins over Australian provinces, with McCabe answering the call just two minutes in with a trade-mark line break to run 30 and score next to the posts. McCabe was one of the CA Technologies Brumbies best all night, causing chaos through traffic straight up the middle of the field.
The Rebels managed to swing the momentum for a 15 minute period of the second half with tries to former CA Technologies Brumby Afusipa Taumoepeau and league convert Jarrod Saffy.
Taumoepeau’s was a cracker – collecting a pop pass from a steaming Saffy to bring his team back into the match 25-17.
But a push over try to Stephen Moore – his fourth of the season – moved the score out to 32-17 and out of reach for the visitors.
CA TECHNOLOGIES BRUMBIES 32 (Matt Giteau, Christian Lealiifano, Pat McCabe, Stephen Moore, Tyrone Smith tries; Giteau 2 cons, pen) bt REBELS 17 (Jarrod Saffy, Afusipa Taumoepeau tries; Danny Cipriani 2 cons, pen)
CA Technologies Brumbies
1. Jerry Yanuyanutawa (replaced by Jono Owen, 73rd minute)
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Anthony Hegarty, 75th minute)
3. Ben Alexander
4. Peter Kimlin (replaced by Sam Carter, 67th minute)
5. Ben Hand
6. Henry Vanderglas
7. Julian Salvi
8. Mitchell Chapman
9. Patrick Phibbs (replaced by Nic White 66th minute)
10. Matt Giteau (replaced by Robbie Coleman 76th minute)
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper (replaced by Tom Boidin 76th minute)
12. Pat McCabe (replaced by Andrew Smith, 75th minute)
13. Tyrone Smith
14. Henry Speight
15. Christian Lealiifano
16. Anthony Hegarty
17. Jono Owen
18. Sam Carter
19. Tom Boidin
20. Nic White
21. Robbie Coleman
22. Andrew Smith