Planet Rugby

Brumbies off on the right foot

19th February 2011 07:07

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Matt Giteau offloading in Brumbies against Chiefs fixture

Opening win: The Brumbies

The Brumbies opened up their Super Rugby account with a hard-fought 28-20 victory over a hot-and-cold Chiefs side in Canberra on Saturday.

Defeat will be tough to take for the Chiefs as they blew chances to score in the first-half, with Tim Nanai-Williams and Mils Muliaina the guilty men.

Had they gone over for their respective score, the Chiefs would have been in the ascendancy and looking at an away victory to kick-off their season. However, two fumbles with the try-line in sight cost them the points. A late try from Lelia Masaga did set up a chance to salvage a bonus-point but a post denied wing Nanai-Williams his moment.

Take nothing away from the Brumbies though, they were the better side during the opening stages as the visitors struggled for any sort of possession and/or territory in Australia.

Captained by soon-to-be departing fly-half Matt Giteau, the men from Canberra dominated matters early on and raced into an 18-0 lead in quick time. Their first try came from lively centre Robbie Coleman, who stood up well against veteran Tana Umaga in the midfield. The youngster's nimble feet proved key in his score as he found a mismatch in midfield and then showed poise to wrong-foot Muliaina.

The Chiefs were in trouble and desperately needed their set-piece to function so that their superior back-line (on paper) could get their hands on the ball. But Aled de Malmanche endured a difficult day with a second home try coming from Francis Fainifo on the left.

Giteau kept the scoreboard ticking over in a good showing at fly-half while opposite number Stephen Donald struggled to put his stamp on proceedings - his first real involvement being a 38th minute penalty that wrapped up that half at 18-3.

Following the interval came a glimmer of hope for the visitors when All Blacks winger Sitiveni Sivivatu got over the line and then replacement scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow showed his promise by chipping over the top, collecting and getting over under pressure.

The gap had narrowed to just six points and looked like only continuing in one direction. However just when the Brumbies needed one of their internationals to step up, it came from the unlikely source of Salesi Ma'afu, who broke Chiefs' hearts. Lelia Masaga's 80th minute try then set up that chance for a losing bonus-point but Nanai-Williams' luck was out.

Man-of-the-match: Not a bad Super Rugby debut. Robbie Coleman.

The scorers:

For the Brumbies:
Tries: Coleman, Fainifo, Ma'afu
Con: Giteau 2
Pen: Giteau 3

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Sivivatu, Kerr-Barlow, Masaga
Con: Donald
Pen: Donald

Brumbies: 15 Pat McCabe, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Matt Giteau (c), 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Stephen Hoiles, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Andrew Smith.

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Dwayne Sweeney, 12 Tana Umaga, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Toby Smith, 17 Daniel Perrin, 18 Hayden Triggs, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mark Lawrence (South Africa), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Crusaders1651
3Sharks1650
4Brumbies1645
5Chiefs1644
6Highlanders1642
7Hurricanes1641
8Western Force1640
9Bulls1638
10Blues1637
11Stormers1632
12Lions1631
13Reds1628
14Cheetahs1624
15Melbourne Rebels1621
Australian Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621
New Zealand Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637
South African Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Sharks1650
2Bulls1638
3Stormers1632
4Lions1631
5Cheetahs1624