Brumbies win thriller against Chiefs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies win thriller against Chiefs

27/03/2010 12:11:57 AM Comments (0)

Julian Huxley has told Brumbies coach Andy Friend he can only get better after capping a remarkable return to rugby with a rock solid performance in his side's Super 14 win over the Chiefs at Canberra Stadium.

Huxley played his first Super match since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 and let no-one down as the Brumbies registered a late 30-23 win when playmaker Matt Toomua scored under the posts in the dying minutes.

The Brumbies had been forced to reshuffle their backline early in the first half after losing winger Francis Fainifo - who's expected to be out for four to six weeks with a suspected broken leg - and halfback Josh Valentine who went off with a strained hamstring.

Enter Huxley after just 11 minutes.

The crowd favourite came off the bench and was immediately in the thick of the action, the former Wallabies utility back soon showing he won't just be playing a bit part for the Brumbies this season.

Expecting to play maybe 10 minutes Huxley said it felt good to be back.

"It felt like just doing what I've always done," he said.

"It's the first one under my belt and I know I can perform at that level now."

"There's a bit I've got to work on and hopefully I'll keep getting opportunities."

Brumbies coach Andy Friend said he was impressed with Huxley's first Super outing in two years, saying it was a "fairytale" comeback.

"For him to get on as early as he did, just to look so composed at the back there," Friend said.

"He came off and said, 'I can get better Friendy', and I said, 'well I know you can but you're pretty damn good there at the minute'."

"I was really pleased and proud for him."

The Brumbies started poorly with inside centre Matt Giteau kicking the ball out on the full from the first kick-off, gifting the Chiefs early territory which they converted into points in the third minute after No.10 Stephen Donald slotted home a penalty.

The Chiefs almost added to their tally two minutes later but Liam Messam dropped the ball while diving over the line.

But it was the Brumbies who scored the first try of the match when winger Pat McCabe found himself in space on the right side of the field before stepping inside and feeding Josh Valentine who, still with some work to do, sprinted away and dived over the line.

Young flanker Michael Hooper then showed his class five minutes later when he ran a great line off the back of a short lineout before crashing over, taking the score out to 14-3.

The 18-year-old former Australia schoolboys representative had big shoes to fill as cover for the injured George Smith and didn't let his side down when he crossed for the Brumbies' second try midway through the first half.

Donald kept the Chiefs in touch on the scoreboard with three penalties before converting the their first try of the match, scored by halfback Brendon Leonard, which briefly gave the visitors the lead.

Giteau slotted his third kick to reclaim the lead two minutes before the break.

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