Brumbies triumph in APC finale
September 29, 2006

ACT Brumbies clinched the inaugural Australian Provincial Championship title with a 42-17 victory over Queensland Reds in Canberra.

The Brumbies reversed a one-point loss to the Reds a week ago to claim the glory with a typically expansive approach to the match.

The home side led from start to finish accumulating six tries along the way with the boot of Julian Huxley converting each touchdown.

While the visitors found some ground early, they were largely closed out of the match in the first half before finding the line on two occasions after the break.

Determined to impress in front of national selectors John Connolly, Scott Johnson and Michael O'Connor, the CA Brumbies were strong across the park with each of the 22-man squad taking the final opportunity to push their claim for a full-time Super 14 contract or berth on the Wallaby Spring Tour.

Julian Huxley took man-of-the-match honours with a flawless kicking display, both off the kicking tee and in general play, as well as closing out the match with a show of pace to cross for a five-pointer of his own.

The backrow was again tireless with Mark Chisholm acting as a battering ram through the midfield, Julian Salvi playing hard at the ball throughout the match and Stephen Hoiles directing play up field as well as demonstrating his ball-playing ability stepping into first receiver on many occasions.

Captain Alister Campbell, who again controlled the lineout, showed off his hard ball-running ability netting his second try in as many weeks.

The centre pairing of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Gene Fairbanks were again tight in defence and strong with the ball while Tim Curran capped off a first-class tournament with two tries in his first run-on appearance.

The CA Brumbies' intention of playing an expansive game was shown early in the piece when Huxley and Hoiles pushed the ball wide to put Curran in space. The fullback linked with flyer Frnacis Fainifo to help put the CA Brumbies ahead 7-0 after three minutes.

A penalty goal to Reds centre Lloyd Johansson capitalised on some good field position for the Queenslanders. However it was CA Brumbies' winger Tim Wright who was the next to cross for a five-pointer when he found himself on the end of a Huxley cut-out pass to cross in the corner after bumping off his opposite, Caleb Brown.

The CA Brumbies were in again three minutes later when Ashley-Cooper cut through out wide before Fairbanks delivered a deft inside ball to Curran from the following phase, who scored under the posts. Huxley's successful conversion rounded out the 21-3 half-time score.

After withdrawing from last weekend's match due to a calf strain, Mark Gerrard entered the fray off the bench in the 49th minute to make his debut at flyhalf. The move took just nine minutes to reap rewards when wide passes from Gerrard and Huxley found a rampaging Campbell in the backline who charged 30 metres to touchdown.

Chisholm was unlucky to be held up over the line in the 61st minute before Reds fullback John Dart completed a 14-point turnaround when he swooped on a Gerrard cut-out pass from the ensuing scrum to race 80 metres to score.

Ashley-Cooper produced a slick one-handed pass to put Curran in for his second six minutes later before Caleb Brown hit and spun his way out of a tackle to cross from close range for the Reds with 10 minutes remaining.

Huxley capped off a stellar performance by racing 30 metres down the left-hand flank to score five minutes from full time to bring his personal tally to 17 points for the evening.

"There were some very good performances out there, and Hoiles certainly played well," Connolly said.

"Even on tonight's performance, a couple of players will probably get on the tour because of their performance in the final.

"We'll select the side tonight, and the Australian Rugby Union will be announcing the touring team on Tuesday."

ACT Brumbies 42
(T Curran 2 F Fainifo T Wright A Campbell J Huxley tries; J Huxley 6 goals)

Queensland Reds17
(J Dart C Brown tries; A Brown 2 goals L Johansson pen goal)

At Viking Park Canberra.

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