Brumbies claim emotional seven-point win

The CA Brumbies ended an emotional week by defeating the Stormers 17-10 at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.


The home side paid tribute to lock Shawn Mackay, who passed away on Monday in a Durban hospital, with black armbands, a moment’s applause, flags at half mast, embroidery on their jerseys and by retiring the ’18’ jersey – worn by Mackay – before rounding out the evening with a seven-point victory over the Cape Town-based side.


On a rain sodden Canberra Stadium surface, both sides struggled with the greasy ball and were forced to rely on a strong kicking game in order to make inroads into the opposition’s half.


Fullback Mark Gerrard turned in another strong performance and shouldered a majority of the CA Brumbies’ long-range kicking game while flyhalf Christian Lealiifano also contributed by continually tucking the football in behind the Stormers’ defensive line.


The ACT starting pack also worked tirelessly for the entire match, with the front row of Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Guy Shepherdson, who was named the CA/Dataflex Man of the Match, setting a strong platform in an impressive 80-minute performance.


CA Brumbies Head Coach Andy Friend says his side showed a lot of spirit to come away with the four points.


“I’m very proud of the boys,” he said. “They showed a lot of character again, it’s been a difficult week but they were always going to turn up tonight and they did that.


“Tonight we didn’t talk much about Shawn, not because we didn’t want to but because we’d done a lot of talking and thinking about him during the course of the week; tonight was a night to play rugby.”


Against the top defensive line in the Investec Super 14, the CA Brumbies were forced to rely on the boot of Gerrard for any points in the first half, with the fullback potting three first half penalty goals to give his side a 9-0 half time lead.


Stormers centre Jean de Villiers ensured that the response after the break was swift when he claimed the ball on the halfway line before running around and then through the CA Brumbies defensive line to score. Peter Grant converted his captain’s 43rd minute touchdown to bring his side to within two points at 9-7.


Gerrard added another penalty six minutes later before replacement half Patrick Phibbs, a schoolmate and close friend of Mackay’s, slid over from the base of a ruck on the Stormers line to extend the lead to 17-7 at the 59-minute mark.


Grant managed a penalty goal with 13 minutes remaining to get his side to within striking distance, however, the CA Brumbies’ defensive line continued to repel any further Stormers’ raids for a 17-10 victory.


The win draws the CA Brumbies to within two competition points of the top four as they next take on the Bulls at Canberra Stadium on Friday, 17 April.


MATCH DETAILS

 

CA Brumbies 17 (Patrick Phibbs try; Mark Gerrard 0/1 conversions, 4/4 penalty goals, 0/1 drop goal, Christian Lealiifano 0/1 drop goal)

defeated Stormers 10 (Jean de Villiers try; Peter Grant 1/1 conversions, 1/2 penalty goals) at Canberra Stadium, Canberra.


Referee: Paul Marks (Aus)


Half time: CA Brumbies 9-0


Crowd: 14,565

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