Planet Rugby

Reds break Canberra duck

05th March 2011 06:13

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quade cooper brumbies v reds

Cooper: 26 points for the Reds

Reds pivot Quade Cooper kicked seven penalties, a conversion and a drop-goal to help beat the Brumbies 31-25 in Canberra on Saturday.

Not since 1996 have the Reds been able to win in the Australian capital, and added to the Brumbies' burden after the sacking of coach Andy Friend in the wake of last week's loss to the Melbourne Rebels.

The supporters at Canberra Stadium may have been hoping their players would lift themselves for new coach Tony Rea, but any good work they did was quickly undone by a raft of silly penalties, most of them within Cooper's range.

The Brumbies outscored their Australian rivals four tries to one, but captain Matt Giteau failed miserably with the boot which proved to be extremely costly for the home side.

Giteau missed three conversions which could have at least tied the game.

The Reds opened the scoring with a Cooper penalty after just three minutes and extended the lead soon after when flanker Scott Higginbotham crashed over, Cooper converting from out wide to make it 10-0.

The Brumbies got on the scoreboard midway through the first half when hooker Stephen Moore took a quick-tap right in front of the posts and caught the Reds napping for a simple try.

Cooper replied with another two penalties, before the home side struck again when impressive full-back Pat McCabe skipped through some flimsy defence to score out wide.

But a penalty and a wobbly drop-goal to Cooper gave the Reds a handy 22-15 lead heading into half-time despite losing prop Ben Daley to a soft yellow card for a high tackle two minutes from the break.

The hosts took advantage of the extra man straight after the restart when Tongan-born number eight Ita Vaea crossed out wide to bring the Brumbies to within two points of the visitors.

But two more Cooper penalties put Queensland out to an eight-point lead and yet another one with 12 minutes remaining made it 31-20 to the Reds.

The Brumbies struck back with seven minutes to go when prop Ben Alexander crossed next to the posts, but Giteau's conversion hit the upright, leaving the home side still needing a converted try to win.

They threw everything at the Reds but were unable to make an impression as the visitors hung on.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: Moore, McCabe, Vaea, Alexander
Con: Giteau
Pen: Giteau

For Reds:
Try: Higginbotham
Con: Cooper
Pens: Cooper 7
Drop: Cooper

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 Colby Faingaa, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Christian Lealiifano.

Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Will Chambers, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Van Humphries, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Ed Quirk, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Luke Morahan.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

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