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Brumbies victory

Monday, May 12, 2014

CANBERRA - The Brumbies graduated from the school of Jake White by downing his tryless Sharks 16-9 on Saturday night at a slippery Canberra Stadium.

The Brumbies had plenty to prove after White walked out on them last year to join the Sharks halfway through his four-year contract.

And prove it they did, man of the match Sam Carter crossing for the only try and match winner in the 65th minute.

The niggly top-of-the-table clash went down exactly as expected, in wet conditions, by two sides recently tutored by the former World Cup-winning Springboks coach.

The defence was rigid, the hits big, the breakdown scrappy and the kicks plenty.

Three players went off in the first half for blood or concussion concerns - however only Wallabies winger Joe Tomane failed to return, a cheekbone injury putting him in doubt for the Brumbies' South African tour.

Both teams were desperate to play in the other side's half, the match featuring more than 90 open-play kicks.

Sharks flyhalf Francois Steyn's radar was off, missing three first-half penalty goal attempts, failing to find touch from a penalty and kicking out on the full twice from restarts.

His open-play kicking was better, constantly finding the ground to the left of fullback Jesse Mogg, which cut off the angle of his big left boot.

However, the Brumbies dominated the kicking duel in the second half, Mogg finding his rhythm and winger Robbie Coleman chasing everything down.

Lealiifano opened the scoring with an early penalty goal, while Steyn pushed two early attempts out wide before nailing one in the 14th minute.

Lealiifano knocked over a second three-pointer and then missed a third attempt, giving the Brumbies a 6-3 lead at halftime.

Both sides traded a penalty goal apiece after the break, before the Brumbies began to press with their territory advantage.

The try-scoring drought finally broke in the 65th minute when halfback Nic White put Carter through a gap and under the posts to extend the lead to 16-6.

Steyn narrowed the gap to seven points with eight minutes to go to earn the Sharks a losing bonus point, but they fell short of finishing off the comeback.

The outcome wasn't enough to knock the Sharks off top spot, although the Brumbies closed the gap to two points in third place.

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