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Brumbies Too Good

Fotopress

Matt Johnson     17 May 2004     Fotopress

From the outset, the Chiefs struggled with the pace of the game - Brumbies centre and captain Stirling Mortlock capitalising on early pressure from his side to dive over in the left-hand corner in just the 5th minute. The try was unconverted.

Chiefs first-five Glen Jackson answered with a penalty, but it mattered little as Brumbies halfback George Gregan and second-five Matt Giteau carved their way upfield... the movement ending with winger Mark Gerrard hurdling over his marker Lome Fa'atau for the homeside's second.

Knock-ons didn't help their cause, but slowly the Chiefs edged their way back into the territory and possession stakes as the first half progressed. Yet even when they managed to string ten-plus phases together, their progress in the face of a furious defence was marginal at best. After Brumbies lock Mark Chisholm romps away for a try from a questionable Stephen Larkham pass, the Brumbies head to the break with an intimidating 20-3 lead.

The first half is also notable for the exit from the game of both star centres, Stirling Mortlock and Keith Lowen (the latter with a reoccurrence of his troublesome hamstring injury). Chiefs halfback Byron Kelleher follows shortly after the break.

Some strong driving play from captain Jono Gibbes and flanker Marty Holah saw a better start from the visitors in the second 40. But it all turned to heartbreak ten minutes in when huge Brumbies lock Radike Samo broke through a lineout on halfway and thundered all the way to the line: 25-3 to the Brumbies.

After another Chiefs rally and visits to the television match official, no.8 Steven Bates finally crashes over for his side's first try. Jackson's conversions reduces the deficit to a respectable 25-10, but the turnovers and unforced errors from the Chiefs continue. When Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone scoops up a grubber-kick from replacement Joel Wilson and races around under the posts, the game is all but over...

32-10, and the pending loss seems to free the Chiefs up to play the kind of rugby they know they can. After several expansive phases, Adrian Cashmore flicks a nice inside pass for Fa'atau to score under the bar. But those Brumbies are simply too good. They will meet the Crusaders in the final of the 2004 Rebel Sport Super 12 next Saturday.

Brumbies: Tries: Stirling Mortlock, Mark Gerrard, Mark Chisholm, Radike Samo, Clyde Rathbone. Conversions. Joe Roff (2). Penalties: Roff.

Chiefs: Tries: Steven Bates, Lome Fa'atau. Conversions: Glen Jackson (2). Penalties: Jackson.