Brumbies score 26-13 win over Stormers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies score 26-13 win over Stormers

By Darren Walton 09/03/2007 11:18:36 PM Comments (0)

Inspirational captain Stirling Mortlock made a triumphant return to guide the Brumbies to a vital 26-13 Super 14 victory over the Stormers in Canberra.

Returning from two weeks out recovering from a succession of head knocks, Mortlock led from the front, producing a powerful running display and finishing with a personal haul of 16 points from a try, conversion and three penalty goals.

Fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper and lock Mark Chisholm also starred and both were rewarded with five-pointers as the Brumbies almost doubled their tryscoring tally for the season in just one game.

Alas, they were unable to secure the first bonus-point win for an Australian province this season after failing to cross in the final half hour despite dominating possession and territory.

"It was certainly a relief to win," Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher said after watching his team snap a two-game losing streak.

"We had a lot of opportunities to get the fourth try but, that said, we're pleased in what's a tight competition to get a four-point win at home and to play some reasonably solid football.

"We're disappointed with some things we did. You can see there's a lot of tidying up in our game to go but I guess we've got to take small steps."

The victory lifted the Brumbies from 10th place on the ladder to the cusp of the top four midway through round six of the tournament and was just the tonic ahead of an arduous three-match tour of South Africa.

The Brumbies play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, Sharks in Durban and Lions in Johannesburg before returning to take on the NSW Waratahs in Sydney in round 10.

They don't play at home again until Easter Sunday against the Western Force.

"It (the win) means a lot in terms of hitting the road for three weeks now, so we do take some confidence in our game going to South Africa," Fisher said.

Mortlock and man-of-the-match Ashley-Cooper stood out like beacons in the backline, each making a series of bursts to help get the Brumbies' campaign back on track.

"It was great to have Stirling back and really direct some good, hard running, he defended well so you could see the impact and influence he has on the side," Fisher said.

"So it's most important to have a healthy Stirling Mortlock playing for us.

"And I'm really pleased for Adam. It was on the back of a pretty good performance from him last week as well," Fisher said.

"He's a powerful young footballer and hopefully he starts to realise some of the potential that he does have."

The Brumbies enjoyed all the early running and territory and were rewarded with the only try of the first half to Chisholm in the 10th minute.

After a break from Ashley-Cooper, the Stormers looked to have defused a dangerous situation only for fly-half Peter Grant to have his attempted clearing kick charged down by Brumbies flanker Julian Salvi.

Celebrating his 50th Super rugby match, Chisholm was on the spot to regather the loose ball and score.

Three penalty goals from Mortlock, to two from Grant, gave the Brumbies a 14-6 lead at the break.

The writing was on the wall for the South Africans when Chisholm put Mortlock over in the 46th minute and Ashley-Cooper sealed the victory when he beat three defenders to complete a beautiful backline move from the Brumbies.

A length-of-the-field intercept try to fullback Gio Aplon after the siren had sounded was of consolation value only to the Stormers.

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