Planet Rugby

Brumbies send Highlanders packing

23rd February 2008 10:19

Share:

Anthony Faingaa on his way to the line v Highlanders

Here we go! Anthony Faingaa opens the Brumbies' account

The Brumbies made up for last week's disappointing display in Christchurch by beating the Highlanders 22-20 in the Super 14 on Saturday.

After a crashing start by the visitors, including a try for Fetu'u Vainikolo, the home side found their rhythm and pounded the discipline out of the Otago side in the first half, taking a 17-7 half-time lead.

The Highlanders managed to build some continuity of their own early in the second half, with full-back James Wilson landing a couple of penalties to reduce arrears, but then the Brumbies found their poise again, and Stephen Hoiles crashed over for the crucial try on the hour mark.

The game started with a bang, eased off for much of the middle, but picked up again towards the end.

It was helped in many respects by referee Craig Joubert, who tended to take a very dim view of any negative play and thus gave far more penalties than we have become accustomed to seeing under the new laws. As a result, the game had a more familiar chess-like strategic feel to it, with the cat-and-mouse punctuated by breathless bursts of ELV-inspired all-action.

Both sides scored early on. The Highlanders recycled several phases of possession from the kick-off, culminating in wing Fetu'u Vainikolo bursting through under the posts.

The Brumbies replied in kind, keeping the ball through phase after phase for a more or less uninterrupted five minutes during which the Highlanders conceded no less than five free-kicks or penalties, and at at the end of which centre Anthony Faingaa took the switch off fly-half Chris Lealiifano and also burst under the poles. Ten minutes had elapsed, and we had a try apiece as a result of good controlled possession by both teams.

Unfortunately for the viewers, that was pretty much it for the first half. The Highlanders' game descended into an error-littered bog, while the home team contrived to butcher several scoring opportunities.

The Highlanders forwards also contrived to concede needless penalty after free-kick - it was a wonder Joubert did not reach for his pocket in the opening quarter. Perhaps he felt that the penalty landed by Julian Huxley in the 24th minute was punishment enough.

But after a half-hour dominated by the patient and careful Brumby control, there came a foul that yielded maximum punishment, even if only half-disciplinary sanction. More good Brumby work saw the ball swung out left to Huia Edmonds, whose inexorable passage to the line was stopped only by the high arm of Hayden Triggs. Triggs saw yellow, while Joubert took the try under the posts rather than where Edmonds may or may not have touched down. It was 17-7, a richly-deserved lead for the Brumbies.

Rarely did the ball get out beyond the Highlanders centres of their own accord, but the second half saw the hitherto disparate and lax pack begin to motor. Two penalties for offside, both a result of breaks after repeated forward grunt, were landed by James Wilson to bring the score back to 17-13 and a third penalty was tapped by Alando Soakai, only for the openside to hold on to the ball inches from the line.

The Brumbies turned the heat up again having got out of jail, and the crucial score came on the hour, when Stephen Hoiles burst down the left to the corner, taking three defenders with him as he blundered over the line.

Back came the Highlanders, with all three loose forwards prominent as they smashed at the home defence. Stephen Setephano was expertly held up over the line by Hoiles, but from the scrum the ball went through a couple of phases and then left for prop Chris King to score. Wilson's conversion made it 22-20.

Wilson had a chance of winning it with a penalty eight minutes from time, but he pulled the kick, and then in the final minute, a scintillating break from Highlanders wing Paul Williams had he and his team into the Brumbies' 22, only for Toby Morland to knock the ball on at the base of the ruck.

Man of the match: It was tricky to pick one out, but we'll opt for Stephen Hoiles, who provided the crucial moments in his team's win at both ends of the field as a result of his ceaseless work-rate.

Moment of the match: Paul Williams' last-minute break had our pulses racing! But the choice of moments was limited, to say the least.

Villain of the match: The Highlanders' barber. All those mullets!

The scorers:

For the Brumbies:

Tries: Faingaa, penalty try, Hoiles

Cons: Huxley 2

Pen: Huxley

For the Highlanders:

Tries: Vainikolo, King

Cons: Wilson 2

Pens: Wilson 2

Yellow card: Triggs (Highlanders, 34, high tackle)

Brumbies: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Tyrone Smith, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joshua Holmes, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 George Smith (captain), 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Alister Campbell, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nic Henderson.

Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Julian Salvi, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Peter Playford, 22 Afusipa Taumoepeau.

Highlanders: 15 James Wilson, 14 Paul Williams, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Daniel Bowden, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Macdonald (c), 1 Jamie Mackintosh.

Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Chris King, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Ezra Taylor, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Brett Mather.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Touch judges: Pro Legoete (South Africa), James Scholtens (Australia)

Television match official: Geoff Acton (Australia)

Assessor: Scott Young (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954