The Brumbies have come out on top of the Stormers with a 25-15 win in a very physical battle in Canberra.
A depleted Brumbies side took on the Stormers who themselves were dealt a blow with the late withdrawal of Schalk Burger due to a torn quad muscle.
This would always be a big test for the Brumbies who had four of their five EPS players involved in the match day squad due to their mounting injury toll.
They were put under huge pressure in the early stages with the Stormers with all the ball in the opening minutes and they should have taken the lead in just the second minute with an early penalty except Peter Grant’s shot looked more like my golf swing.
He did make up for that early miss after a break from Springbok centre Jean de Villiers in the midfield saw them heap more pressure on the Brumbies defence.
The Brumbies barely had their hands on the ball and on their first excursion into the Stormers 22 executed a great backline move that saw left winger Robbie Coleman dive over in the right wing and Nic White’s conversion gave them a 7-3 lead.
The Stormers got back into the game and their back three were looking dangerous with Gio Aplon slicing through the defensive line on one occasion and on the back of two penalties inside the Brumbies 22, a worked lineout move saw number 8 Duane Vermeulen dive over from close range.
The Brumbies missed tackle count was starting to rise but Scott Fardy came up with a big play on his own line to get the Brumbies off the hook.
The Stormers were reduced to 14 men after the TMO had a look at a tackle from Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg for a tip tackle on Ben Mowen that saw him earn a ten minute rest in the bin and almost immediately the Brumbies were back on level terms at 10-10 after a Nic White penalty.
With the half winding down, the Brumbies finally got some ball and regained the lead back after a sequence of 14 phases with White’s second penalty of the night.
The second half opened with a very physical battle with the Brumbies prepared to make small gains through their forwards against a well drilled Stormers defence.
The Brumbies had a chance to extend their lead in the 55th minute but White’s penalty was wide and the score remained at 13-10.
With the game in the final quarter, it took a moment of brilliance from the ‘Prince of Queanbeyan’ Robbie Coleman to collect a Ben Mowen grubber that the Stormers defence wanted to go over the sideline but Coleman swooped first to score to the embarrassment of Kobus van Wyk that gave the Brumbies a little bit of breathing room at 18-10.
The Stormers tried to hit back but were again penalised on attack inside the Brumbies 22 that halted the little momentum they had during the second half.
With time winding down the Brumbies went for a penalty that was wide and Stormers fullback Gio Aplon launched an attack from his own in goal that very nearly came off. They did receive a penalty that would have got them within seven points but it hit the upright.
But they kept banging away and they used their forwards effectively and it came to replacement back Juan de Jongh to give his side a sniff of victory but Peter Grant some how shanked the conversion from a very handy position.
With time virtually over, the Stormers lost a lineout right on their own line and from a scrum the Brumbies shoved the Stormers pack backwards and referee Glen Jackson awarded a penalty try to give the Brumbies a well deserved 25-15 win.
The Game Changer
Robbie Coleman’s second try was an opportunistic try that gave the Brumbies an eight point lead.
Scott Fardy put in another big shift in a physical forwards battle.
Stephen Moore lead the rookies from the front.
Crowd: 11,110 (approx)
Score & Scorers
Tries: Coleman 2, Penalty try
Conversions: White 2
Penalties: White 2
Tries: Vermeulen, de Jongh
Cards & Citings
31 min – Tiaan Liebenberg (yellow)
Photos by Tim Anger