Brumbies hold on to progress

20th Jul 2014, 11:30

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Opening try: Nic White

Opening try: Nic White

The Brumbies will travel to either Sydney or Christchurch for their Super Rugby semi-final after they beat the Chiefs 32-30 on Saturday.

The Brumbies will go to either Sydney or Christchurch for their Super Rugby semi-final after they beat the Chiefs 32-30 at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Should the Sharks win against the Highlanders in Durban the Brumbies will face an Australian derby against the Waratahs, but if the result goes the other way it will be a trip to take on the Crusaders.

But let us just reflect on what an outstanding and absorbing game of knockout rugby this was, with the Chiefs giving everything in their attempt to recover from being 22-3 down at one point.

The Brumbies, as is their wont at home, came out of the traps with real intent as their wide game caused the Chiefs plenty of problems in the opening quarter. In fact they managed to get over three times through Nic White, Robbie Coleman and Jesse Mogg as the hosts took the initiative.

Aaron Cruden made it 0-3 though after Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy wasn't supporting his body weight at a ruck but that was as good as it got in the opening quarter.

Thus followed an onslaught from the hosts. An in-form Henry Speight was outstanding with ball in hand while White was marshalling his forwards well. Speight it was who was the first to go close to scoring on the right before recycled ball found Mogg who got to within three metres before being hauled down. Referee Craig Joubert subsequently went to his pocket at that ruck as Tim Nanai-Williams slowed down the ball. It was a right call from Joubert.

It would prove to be a costly ten minutes as from that offence, the Brumbies went to the line-out, drove and White saw space on the blindside that seemed more sloppy from the Chiefs than brilliant from White. Centre Christian Lealiifano was on-target from near to the sideline.

The Brumbies doubled their score on ten minutes when a poor chip from Chiefs full-back Dwayne Sweeney, in for Tom Marshall, saw White sweep up well before finding Mogg on the left, who in turn sprinted into the red zone and then handed it on to Coleman who finished.

Speight was continuing to cause damage in the visitors' defence - before then came a 20-phase charge from the hosts that saw White and Mogg again combine, this time the full-back was the scorer on the left as the Chiefs found themselves trailing by 16 in Canberra.

Lealiifano's missed conversion was followed up by a penalty just before the half-hour but then came a response form the Chiefs as sustained pressure led to Bundee Aki crashing over from five out. In truth the Brumbies should have had a player in the sin-bin.

At 22-10 the game was in the balance coming up to the interval so when the Brumbies snubbed three and instead went to the corner, it left the supporters scratching their head as that penalty would have given them a fifteen-point lead. As it was the Chiefs held on.

The first score after the break was always going to be key and it went the way of the Chiefs when a line-out jumper had his arm taken out, which led to Cruden reducing the lead to nine points. This after images showed the away coaching staff laying down the law to their men.

Lealiifano would respond two minutes later though to make it 25-13 after strong carrying from Tevita Kuridrani but then came the brilliant and poor from Speight as another excellent break preceded him being sent to the sin-bin for going off his feet. It would prove costly.

Two tries were chalked up by the Chiefs in that spell as first Tawera Kerr-Barlow sniped over for a controversial score from close-range - it seemed Liam Messam cleared space - before Cruden and Michael Fitzgerald combined to send over Nanai-Williams for 25-25.

Speight would see his side land three points immediately after Cruden's missed extras, however, when Messam crawled after being held in contact, before the winger returned to cheers. That came as no surprise though as he was definitely the star, not the villain of the piece.

On the hour mark the Brumbies would again turn down three but this time it paid off when a driving maul involving Matt Toomua and Lealiifano led to Butler crossing to make it 32-25.

That laid down the challenge to the champion Chiefs who themselves turned down three on 76 minutes, instead going for a scrum that gave them a platform for replacement Gareth Anscombe to squeeze over.

Crucially Cruden's conversion was unsuccessful and despite Lealiifano missing another three points before the end, the Brumbies held on to progress to the semi-finals.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: White, Coleman, Mogg, Butler
Con: Lealiifano 3
Pen: Lealiifano 2
Yellow card: Speight (47 mins - off his feet)

For Chiefs:
Tries: Aki, Kerr-Barlow, Nanai-Williams, Anscombe
Con: Cruden 2
Pen: Cruden 2
Yellow card: Nanai-Williams (four mins - slowing down ball)

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Leon Power, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Ruaidhri Murphy, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Pat McCabe.

Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahroni Schwalger, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Nick Barrett, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Tom Marshall.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)