Brumbies claim victory over Hurricanes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies claim victory over Hurricanes

22/04/2006 09:59:38 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies put a miserable week behind them to give their Super 14 finals hopes a massive boost with a gritty 21-16 win over the high-flying Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium.

In a brave display, the fourth-placed Brumbies overcame the absence of chief playmakers Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau to move within two points of the third-placed Hurricanes as the playoff race intensifies.

In addition to having Larkham and Giteau sidelined, the Brumbies learned just hours before kick-off that Giteau had accepted a multi-million-dollar offer from the Western Force to head to Perth at the end of the season.

Despite all the distractions, though, the two-time Super series champions showed tremendous spirit to bounce back from last week's painful 37-14 loss to the NSW Waratahs to outclass the highly-rated Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes' revered centre pairing of Tana Umaga and Ma'a Nonu was expected to dominate the understrength Brumbies backline.

Instead, Brumbies skipper Stirling Mortlock and Joel Wilson upstaged Umaga and Nonu with a powerful performance and, fittingly, set the home team on its way when Wilson put Mortlock over for the first try of the game after just seven minutes.

With winger Mark Gerard also outstanding, the Brumbies never looked back and enjoyed a 15-6 lead at the break after halfback George Gregan had added the team's second try in the 35th minute.

Mortlock landed one conversion and a penalty goal to Hurricanes five-eighth David Holwell's two first-half penalty goals.

Holwell added a third penalty early in the second half but the Brumbies kicked nine points clear again when Mortlock replied with one of his own in the 62nd minute.

It took until the 71st minute for the Hurricanes' much-feted backline to finally breach the Brumbies line, with Lome Fa'Atau crossing to set up a tense finale.

The Brumbies steadied with a third penalty goal to Mortlock six minutes from time and then held on as the Hurricanes attacked right up until the death.

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