Vodacom Super 14

Brumbies victorious in Perth

2010-02-12 14:47
Stirling Mortlock (File)
Perth - Stirling Mortlock became the first player to reach 1 000 Super Rugby points as his Brumbies beat the Western Force 24-15 in their Super 14 clash in Perth on Friday.

The 32-year-old went into the season opener on 996 points and two early conversions saw him reach the milestone within 20 minutes as the Brumbies put a dampener on the Force's debut at their new home ground.

In his 118th Super Rugby game, Mortlock finished with nine points from three conversions and one penalty, as well as setting up the sealing try for the Brumbies late in the match.

Mortlock's perfectly timed pass to Huia Edmonds allowed the hooker to cross in the 72nd minute and the Wallabies veteran then converted as the Brumbies extended their lead beyond a converted try with what proved to be the final score of the match.

The Brumbies ran in three tries, while the Force never even got close to the visitors' line.

A 30-metre run by prop Ben Alexander set up the opening try for Josh Valentine in the 11th minute, which Mortlock converted.

When an Adam Ashley-Cooper break put Stephen Moore over in the 19th minute, Mortlock stepped up for the elementary conversion to register 1 000 points and give his side a 14-3 lead.

The injury-ravaged Force had few attacking options, but were kept in the game by the boot of youngster James O'Connor, who made his first five penalties.

Remarkably despite the Brumbies' overall dominance of possession, the Force twice had the chance to take the lead late in the match, but missed both penalties, with O'Connor's first blemish and Sam Wykes missing the other.

The Force didn't have to face former teammate Matt Giteau as the Wallabies star, who switched to the Brumbies during the off-season, was sidelined by a quad strain.

The loss of Giteau to the Brumbies was compounded for the Force when his replacement, Andre Pretorius, was ruled out for the entire season due to a severe hamstring injury.

To make matters worse, Pretorius's likely replacement Mark Bartholomeusz was also a late withdrawal from the clash with the Brumbies due to injury, while Cameron Shepherd withdrew after badly hurting his quad during the warm-up and is set to miss an extended period.

Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles admitted his team was rusty in their first outing of the season.

"We started pretty well, but then discipline cost us," he said.

"It was pretty scrappy, but we'll take the points."

Force captain Nathan Sharpe said his side had been decimated by injuries and showed great commitment against the odds.


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