The ACT Brumbies overcame a crippling injury toll to beat the Cheetahs 29-23 in the Super 14 in Canberra on Friday.
The Brumbies survived a late fightback from the visitors to chalk up their third win of the season while earning a valuable bonus point to stay in contention for a place in the finals nearing the halfway stage of the competition.
Mark Chisholm, Peter Playford, Tyrone Smith and Mitchell Chapman all scored tries while Mark Gerrard kicked three conversions and a penalty before limping off the field with a hamstring injury.
The Cheetahs, yet to win a match this season, led 13-12 at halftime after Jongi Nokwe scored then claimed their fifth bonus point of the season when Tewis de Bruyn scored near the end and Jacques-Louis Potgieter converted then added a penalty with the last kick of the match.
The Brumbies went into the match without key internationals Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Clyde Rathbone and Julian Huxley but still managed to come away with the win.
”It’s a bonus point and that’s what you’re looking for in this competition,” Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher told reporters.
”We’ve still got some young boys out there and it was a fantastic experience for them.
”They did some good things. They did some not-so-good things, but we’ll take the win and we’ll look at the areas we need to improve.”
Lock Chisholm scored the opening try after 11 minutes when he sprinted 30m to dive over in the left corner but the Cheetahs replied with a five-pointer from winger Nokwe.
Brumbies winger Playford scored in the right corner to put the home team in front but a last-minute penalty from Conrad Barnard gave the South Africans a narrow lead at the break.
The Brumbies seized control of the match in the second half when they scored 17 points. Smith crashed through after a sustained build up then lock Chapman combined with Julian Salvi to secure the bonus point.
Replacement scrumhalf de Bruyn scored from a quick tap to narrow the gap to 10 points before Potgieter’s late penalty gave the visitors a consolation point. – Reuters