Planet Rugby

Brumbies finally come good

09th April 2011 10:01

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Christian Lealiifano brumbies v hurricanes

At last: Brumbies hold out 'Canes

The Brumbies ended a five-game Super Rugby losing streak after edging past the Hurricanes 17-16 in Canberra on Saturday.

Matt Giteau kicked four penalties and wing Henry Speight scored a try to deny the Kiwi outfit by the closest of margins in a tight tussle from start to finish.

The Hurricanes' hopes a place in the play-offs later down the line are now certainly over after losing their fifth match of the season.

It was the Brumbies first Super Rugby win against the Hurricanes since 2006, and their trans-Tasman rivals now travel to South Africa, where they will look to restore some dented pride.

The Hurricanes got off to the perfect start, after fly-half Aaron Cruden scored the first try following his charge down of Brumbies full-back Matt Toomua's clearance kick to slide over ahead of Ashley-Cooper in the fourth minute.

Cruden converted from the touchline and the visitors looked like the real deal after dominating possession and territory.

However, the Brumbies scrum gained ascendency as the match progressed to place pressure on their opponent's first-phase ball and Giteau kept his team in touch with two quick-fire penalties.

Cruden banged his first three-pointer to extend his side's lead - albeit only slightly - before Speight made a hash of a try-scoring opportunity by losing the ball forward over the line.

The home side recovered and then snatched a half-time lead (11-10) following Speight's second attempt two minutes before the break.

Brumbies scrum-half Josh Valentine made the initial break and then handed the ball to the Fijian flyer, who stepped twice off his left foot to score his first try of the season.

Dan Kirkpatrick - on for Cruden - made sure his team went back in front with two penalties shortly after half-time to give the Hurricanes a five-point lead (11-16).

But Giteau had other ideas, and in between Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua missing their respective attempts, the Brumbies skipper was on target from bang in front on two occasions to restore his team's lead.

It was a bruising contest with the Brumbies losing Wallaby back Adam Ashley-Cooper with a hip injury midway through the opening half and Hurricanes' All Blacks midfielder Conrad Smith suffering a sickening head clash which forced him off the field.

The Brumbies leapfrogged the Melbourne Rebels into third spot in the Australian Conference with the win.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Try: Speight
Pens: Giteau 4

For Hurricanes:
Try: Cruden
Con: Cruden:
Pens: Cruden, Kirkpatrick 2

Brumbies: 15 Matt Toomua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Matt Giteau (c), 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements (from): Anthony Hegarty, Dan Palmer, Colby Faingaa, Michael Hooper, Pat Phibbs, Tyrone Smith, Franky Fainifo, Pat McCabe.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor , 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Michael Bent, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

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