Sun, Feb 26, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Brumbies remain unbeaten


The ACT Brumbies rallied from 15-3 down to draw with the Stormers 15-15 and remain unbeaten in rugby's Super 14 with the Wellington Hurricanes on Friday.

The Hurricanes beat South Africa's visiting Cats 29-16 for their third win in as many matches, and the Waikato Chiefs posted their first win at the expense of winless newcomers the Western Force 26-9.

On Saturday, the defending champion Canterbury Crusaders meet the Sharks, the Queensland Reds host the Auckland Blues, the Bulls tackle New South Wales, and the Cheetahs face the Otago Highlanders.

The Stormers had the better first half in Cape Town, but could only score three penalties by flyhalf Peter Grant, who added two more within 10 minutes of the restart for a 15-3 lead.

But once the Brumbies changed tactics from kicking for territory to keeping the ball in hand, they began to show their class.

Lock Alistair Campbell scored the first converted try in the 52nd minute after an impressive sustained attack by the Brumbies forwards, then from a lineout, a sweeping backs move saw Matt Giteau feed fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper on a tear into the right corner in the 64th.

Mark Gerrard missed the wide-out conversion, and the scored remained tied to the end.

Samoa international Lome Fa'atau scored two tries to lead the Hurricanes past the Cats in Wellington, New Zealand.

Fa'atau crossed the line in the third and 38th minutes as the Hurricanes built a 19-10 halftime lead, and All Blacks fullback Isaiah Toeava snatched a lucky last-minute try to give Wellington their third bonus point in straight games.

All Blacks flanker Chris Masoe also scored as the Hurricanes rocked the Cats with two tries in the last four minutes of the first half, before being held tryless for 39 minutes in the second half.

Fa'atau has five tries from three games after Friday's double to lead the Super 14 try-scoring race, while the Cats picked up their first try of the season through center Grant Esterhuizen.

"I've been pretty fortunate with guys inside me being able to feed some ball and the forwards doing their job," Fa'atau said. "I just have to make sure I'm there at the right time at the end of the string."

In Perth, Australia, the Chiefs followed two losses in South Africa by ending a three-match tour to start the competition with a comfortable win over the Force.

"We really needed that because we'd struggled in the first two games," said Chiefs captain Jono Gibbes. ``We missed the fourth try so it was a bit of a mixed bag -- but we'll take the win."

The Force took a 6-0 lead through two Cameron Shepherd penalties early on but were ultimately woeful in front of almost 30,000 fans, kicking the ball poorly and making too many mistakes, with 20 turnovers and 29 missed tackles.

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