Match report: Copy of Brumbies edge out Western Force
June 5, 2007

The Brumbies made it four wins in a row with a narrow 14-12 victory over Western Force in their Super 14 clash at Canberra Stadium tonight.

Both sides entered the clash with hopes of edging nearer to securing a place in this year's semi-finals but in the end it was the hosts, who grabbed the only try of the game through hooker Jeremy Paul, who claimed the win.

In difficult conditions both teams were determined to take any points on offer with Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley and former Brumbies and now Force flyhalf Matt Giteau converting early penalty opportunities.

Huxley's kicking in general play was also a feature of the match but it was prop Guy Shepherdson who finished the match with man-of-the-match honours after a highly-involved and effective performance.

Giteau edged the vistitors ahead with another penalty but their chances were later dealt a double blow as their lack of discipline cost them dear.

Firstly Nathan Sharpe was yellow carded just before the half hour mark and Ryan Cross was also sent to the sin-bin shortly before the break.

The Brumbies regained control of the clash before the teams headed to the tunnel when despite some dogged defence the Brumbies' pack powered over for the score.

But it took a trip to the TMO before Paul was awarded with the try to see the Brumbies take an 8-6 lead into half time.

A penalty at the start of the second period stretched the Brumbies' lead but the Force rallied and Giteau closed the gap with his third penalty of the game on the hour mark.

And when the Brumbies were penalised for collapsing a scrum with just two minutes left the Force No.10 had no hesitation in pointing at the posts before slotting the kick to put his side within reach of an important victory.

However, the lead was short-lived when Force hooker Tai McIsaac was penalised for a late tackle on Brumbies flyhalf Stephen Larkham.

With Huxley suffering a muscle strain, Mark Gerrard accepted the goal-kicking responsibilities and calmly slotted the crucial three-pointer from 40 metres out with one minute remaining.

Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher said he was pleased to take the win in a tight match.

"We played some pretty good field position but we would've liked to have kicked out a little bit more and put some pressure on their lineout," he said. "We gave them a lot of kick return opportunities. But I think we had reasonable composure, we put them under pressure for most of the game and I think it's a fair result, albeit an ugly one."

Fisher also said his side is looking forward to next week's showdown with reigning Super 14 Champions, the Crusaders, again at Canberra Stadium.

"I think we're defending well and so hopefully we can frustrate the Crusaders," he said. "We'll get Stirling Mortlock back next week which will be a tremendous boost for the team. I don't think we've taken an injury out of tonight's game so we've got another run under our belt, we'll get a good training week and look at the areas we need to take forward."

Brumbies (8) 14
Try: Paul
Pen: Huxley (2), Gerrard

Western Force (6) 12
Pen: Giteau (4)

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