Planet Rugby

Giteau runs the Force show in Canberra

28th February 2009 10:18

Share:

Brumbies v Force ruck

Scrap: There wasn't much open play in Canberra

An exemplary fly-half display full of variety and precision from Matt Giteau gave the western Force a 25-16 Super 14 victory over the team Giteau has signed for next year, the Brumbies, at Bruce stadium on Saturday.

Cameron Shepherd ran in a hat-trick of tries for the Force, capitalising on his playmaker's enterprise in ruthless fashion as the men from Perth finally lived up to their potential.

A typical Aussie derby: lots of bluster, scrapping, endeavour, precious little coolness, execution, or space. The Force produced their best half of rugby of the season by some distance in the first half, yet trailed 9-8 at the break, it was this failure to turn a 60-40 possession and territory advantage into an equally significant lead that could have cost them. Fortunately, they suffered no such problem in the second half, even if the stats were a little more even.

The Brumbies scrapped for everything at the breakdown with gusto, turning stacks of ball over in defence early on. Their problems came at the line-out, where Nathan sharpe and Tom Hockings were air traffic controllers, and at fly-half where Christian Lealiifano was given a lesson by the man who will end up his mentor next season. Eventually, even the breakdown ball dried up and the Brumbies were left with nothing to play with.

Anybody doubting that Matt Giteau would be able to produce the goods against the team he has signed for for next year was given a good hard hand-off. Giteau dictated superbly with the boot and the hand, bouncing balls into touch with barely any space to aim at to win his side their field position.

His passing was also the key for all the Force's tries, the first a precision pass hung in front of Ryan Cross for the centre to drift on to, the second a super pair of quick precise hands for Cameron Shepherd to steam home just after the break, the third a deftly-timed pop for the onrushing Junior Pelesasa, the fourth a cheeky offload to Ben Castle. All skills on display tonight from one of the best in the world.

By contrast, Lealiifano was often too close to the pocket and direct with his passing to his centres. There was little variety. The running threat of Stirling Mortlock was staunched and Lealiifano's alternative strategy was hard to see, as was any discernible targetting to his kicking. It was a steep learning curve for the Brumbies pivot who ended up marked out of the game by the concentrated Force defence.

Mark Gerrard gave his side the lead early on from the tee after an offside, but with Giteau's boot keeping the home side penned in their own half, it was the Force who should have led. Cameron Shepherd had a good chance after ten minutes from Giteau's boot, Richard Brown couldn't quite capitalise on a charge-down of Mark Gerrard's kick.

The best chance of all fell to Junior Pelesasa, after Shepherd and Ryan Cross had launched a super counter-attack, but the centre just couldn't grab the pass under pressure.

Instead, it was the Brumbies who scored next, with Gerrard landing a second penalty given for an offside, on a rare foray into Force territory.

when the Force did score a try, it was magnificent. A terrific flat hanging pass from Giteau for Cross to drift onto and beat his man outside, followed by a well-timed pass to put Shepherd into the space at the corner. A textbook try, one of those rare scores direct from the first phase.

Gerrard extended the lead to 9-5 with a penalty for a high tackle, but Giteau made it 9-8 on the stroke of half-time when a Brumby strayed offside.

The Force opened the second half in super fashion. The ruckers tightened up their act while maintaining their defence and Giteau struck immediately, well-timed hands sending Shepherd over in the same left corner.

Pelesasa's break through four tackles on 50 minutes gave Richard Brown the Force's third - a try awarded by the TMO much to the incredulity of the Brumbies who thought Brown had been held up.

Another rare foray into Force territory gave the Brumbies precious points as the scrum screwed out a penalty try from their tiring opposition but two minutes later Shepherd put the result beyond doubt, scampering down the left once more.

Man of the match: Have I not made it plain already? Matt Giteau of course!

The scorers:

For the Brumbies:

Try: Penalty try

Con: Mortlock

Pens: Gerrard 3

For the Force:

Tries: Shepherd 3, Brown

Con: Giteau

Pen: Giteau

Brumbies: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Stirling Mortlock, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8 Stephen Hoiles (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Julian Salvi, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Nic Henderson.

Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Peter Kimlin, 20 Joshua Holmes, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Tyrone Smith.

Western Force: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Cameron Shepherd, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Pek Cowan.

Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Richard Stanford, 19 Tamaiti Horua, 20 Chris O'Young, 21 James O'Connor, 22 Haig Sare.

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Touch judges: Nathan Pearce (Australia), Brett Bowden (Australia)

TMO: Geoff Acton (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00