Brumbies stay in finals mix after win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies stay in finals mix after win

08/05/2010 10:23:24 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies kept their Super 14 finals aspirations alive and gave George Smith and Stirling Mortlock a perfect Canberra farewell with a bonus-point 31-3 victory over the Highlanders on Saturday night.

The Brumbies notched three tries in the opening 48 minutes but had to wait until two minutes before time to notch the crucial bonus-point fourth, with five-eighth Matt Toomua the man to cross.

The win lifted the Brumbies to fourth spot on the table, equal on points with the fifth-placed Hurricanes but with a better points differential.

The Brumbies' finals fate will come down to Friday's clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Smith lasted 74 minutes and was superb in his Canberra farewell while Mortlock, whose back injury denied him the chance to play one last time in front of his home crowd, did a lap of honour before the game.

The Brumbies were dominant throughout the night, with the only question being whether they would be good enough to claim the bonus point.

Rocky Elsom opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he took the ball at the back of a lineout and twisted and turned his way through several opponents to cross over.

The lead swelled to 14 points when Salesi Ma'afu barged over in the 16th minute and Matt Giteau converted, but the Highlanders slowly worked their way back into the contest as they evened up the possession count.

But it failed to translate into points, with Adam Ashley-Cooper pulling off a desperate, last-gasp tackle to deny Highlanders lock Josh Bekhuis what appeared destined to be a certain try in the 23rd minute.

The Highlanders finally got some points on the board when Israel Dagg nailed a penalty after the halftime siren.

But the Brumbies notched their third try of the night when Toomua sliced through the visitors' defence to pave the way for Josh Valentine to cross.

The Highlanders were reduced to 14 men when Dagg was sin-binned for a cynical knock-down and the Brumbies came close to notching their fourth, only for prop Ben Alexander to be penalised for double movement.

But while they were denied on that occasion, perseverance paid off after a rolling maul stretched the Highlanders' defence and Toomua was able to take full advantage.

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