Vodacom Super 14

Brumbies beat gallant Lions

2010-03-05 13:26
Francis Fainifo (File)
Canberra - The Brumbies downed a gritty Lions team 24-13, but for the fourth straight week of the Super 14 they failed to crown victory with a bonus point in Canberra on Friday.

Yet again the Johannesburg-based team left the Australian capital without a win, after nine attempts, but yet again the Brumbies rued a missed opportunity to push their way further up the standings.

It was the Brumbies' third win in four outings this season, but it was a frustrating night in the rain in their first home match of the campaign as they were unable to score their fourth try to claim an elusive bonus point.

The Brumbies scored their third try in the 56th minute through Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore, but they could not snare a fourth try in the final 24 minutes.

"It was disappointing in the last 10 minutes that we couldn't get the bonus point, but otherwise we did well in difficult conditions," Brumbies' captain Stephen Hoiles said.

The Brumbies have now won 33 of 35 games against South African teams at home, with the Sharks of 1998 and Bulls of 2007 the only teams from SA to have avoided defeat there.

Both teams traded penalty goals in the opening 16 minutes before the Lions lost prop Kevin Buys to the sin bin in the 28th minute after repeated scrum infringements deep inside the Lions' quarter.

Referee Steve Walsh lost patience with the Lions' spoiling tactics and awarded a penalty try after 37 minutes against scrumhalf JP Joubert when he rushed out from behind the scrum to grab the ball off Brumbies' counterpart Josh Valentine.

Matt Giteau's conversion lifted the home side to lead 10-3 at half-time.

Burton Francis reduced the deficit with his second penalty shortly after the resumption, but the Brumbies claimed their second try through inside-centre Christian Lealiifano in the 48th minute.

Hoiles made the break and drew the last line to send Lealiifano over for Giteau to convert for a 17-6 lead.

The Lions hit back through replacement hooker Hannes Franklin in the 52nd minute, swan-diving over the pack from a ruck right under the Brumbies' posts.

Moore's burrowing try four minutes later looked to have the Brumbies in prime position to go on and claim a bonus point, but the chance was lost when winger Pat McCabe failed to ground the ball in Wandie Mjekevu's splendid tackle six minutes from the end.

The Brumbies threw everything at the Lions' defence in stoppage time but missed their chance when Giteau opted to kick across field rather than keep the ball in hand and the opportunity was lost.

In next weekend's Round 5 action, the Brumbies host the Sharks in Canberra while the Lions travel to Sydney to play the Waratahs.


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