Brumbies snatch 14-12 win over Force - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies snatch 14-12 win over Force

By Darren Walton 20/04/2007 10:46:28 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies have kept their Super 14 season alive at the expense of the Western Force with a nail-biting 14-12 triumph in Friday night's high-stakes derby at Canberra Stadium.

The Brumbies snatched victory with a penalty goal to winger Mark Gerrard 90 seconds from fulltime after former ACT golden boy Matt Giteau had looked to have secured an unlikely win for the Force just two minutes earlier.

"It certainly looked like season over, so full credit to the guys," said Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher after his side's fourth-straight win catapulted them into fourth place on the competition table and completed a season sweep over their three Australian rivals.

New Zealand's Chiefs and the Bulls of South Africa both have the opportunity to leapfrog the Brumbies when they play their respective round-12 fixtures on Saturday night, setting the scene for two more virtual sudden-death encounters for the two-time Super series winners.

While the Force's campaign appears doomed following a hat-trick of defeats, the Brumbies' tightrope to the playoffs continues at home next Saturday night against the defending champion and table-topping Crusaders.

Fisher admitted his side - which struggled to shake off the rust following last week's bye - would "need to show significant improvement" to conquer the mighty Crusaders and live to fight another day.

"But we're defending well, so hopefully if we work hard we can frustrate the Crusaders," Fisher said.

"We get (skipper) Stirling Mortlock back next week, which will be a tremendous boost for the team, and I don't think we've taken any injuries out of this game.

"So we get a run under our belt, we get another training week and look at the areas we need to take forward."

Despite the Force potentially falling five points adrift of the top four by the end of the round, coach John Mitchell refused to believe the second-season franchise couldn't make the playoffs for the first time.

The Force finish with back-to-back home games against the Cheetahs and Blues and Mitchell said the bonus point his team collected against the Brumbies for losing by less than eight points offered a glimmer of hope.

"We've just got to win and deal with it. It's not worth getting the calculator out," Mitchell said.

"It's about getting out there and getting the right performances and getting the results."

Both sides had promised to play attractive, running rugby but once again defence dominated a derby and a lone try to hooker Jeremy Paul ultimately proved priceless for the Brumbies in a bruising and scrappy encounter.

The Force had leaked 117 points, including a whopping 17 tries, in successive losses to the Crusaders and Chiefs over the past fortnight, but the Brumbies took 38 minutes to cross for their one and only try.

And the Force only had 14 men on the field at the time, with centre Ryan Cross in the sin-bin for a ruck infringement.

Trailing 6-3 as half-time approached, the Brumbies opted to chance their arm rather than take the shot at penalty goal and were rewarded when Paul forced his way over in the right-hand corner.

Fullback Julian Huxley missed with the conversion attempt to leave the home side clinging to an 8-6 half-time advantage before slotting a penalty seven minutes after the interval to stretch the Brumbies' advantage to five points.

Giteau later silenced the home crowd with his fourth penalty in the 77th minute, only for Gerrard to have the final say in a dramatic finale.

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