Vodacom Super 14

Brumbies humble Highlanders

2010-05-08 13:22
Brumbies (File)
Canberra - The Brumbies thrashed the Otago Highlanders 31-3 in a Super 14 rugby match on Saturday to keep alive their semi-final hopes and give retiring flanker George Smith the perfect send-off in front of home fans.

Flyhalf Matt Toomua emerged the hero for the Brumbies, scoring a fourth try in the dying minutes to collect a vital bonus point that lifted the team into fourth place.

The Brumbies will battle with the sixth-placed Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch next week for the right to a postseason berth in the season's final round.

"We made it hard for ourselves out there, in the last minute we scored the try but full credit to the boys, they stuck in there to the last minute," said Smith, who announced his retirement from international rugby earlier this year.

"It's been a joy to run out here... Look, I'll miss the place but I've a lot of good memories from the place."

The Brumbies were the first to settle after a torrid opening, and they were rewarded for a series of forward drives when Rocky Elsom snatched the ball in a line-out, hit the ground running and pirouetted over the line at the 12th minute.

A sharp pick-and-go by skipper Stephen Hoiles set up Salesi Ma'afu for the Brumbies' second a few minutes later, the lock burrowing over from a ruck a metre out to make it 12-0.

The Highlanders fought back valiantly to trap the ball in the Brumbies' 22 for much of the remaining half but were denied on the goal-line twice and were unable to score until Israel Dagg kicked a penalty goal on the stroke of halftime.

Toomua sliced through midfield to set up a chain of passes that ended with scrum-half Josh Valentine prancing over the line unopposed to extend the lead to 22-3 eight minutes after the break.

The Brumbies were unlucky not to have their fourth try soon after when hooker Stephen Moore cannoned into the right goalpost as he put the ball over the line.

Desperate drives for the elusive fourth went unrewarded, however, as the Highlanders defended furiously, but Matt Giteau steered a penalty kick to touch with two minutes remaining, allowing the team to re-group for a final push.

The Brumbies mauled to within a couple of metres from the line before Toomua swerved past a defender and planted their fourth, sparking thunderous cheers at Canberra Stadium.


Tries: R Elsom; S Ma'afu, J Valentine, M Toomua
Conversions: M Giteua x 4
Penalties: M Giteau

Penalties: I Dagg


15. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Pat McCabe, 13. Tyrone Smith, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Andrew Smith, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Josh Valentine, 8. Stephen Hoiles (Captain), 7. George Smith, 6. Rocky Elsom, 5. Mark Chisholm, 4. Mitchell Chapman, 3. Salesi Ma'afu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander

15. Israel Dagg, 14. James Paterson, 13. Ben Smith, 12. Jason Shoemark, 11. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10. Matt Berquist, 9. Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8. Steven Setephano, 7. Alando Soakai, 6. Adam Thomson, 5. Hayden Triggs, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 3. Bronson Murray, 2. Jason Rutledge, 1. Chris King

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