Stormers

Brumbies honour team mate beating Stormers

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Australia’s Brumbies capped an emotionally draining week with a hard-earned 17-10 victory over South Africa’s Stormers in their Super 14 match on Saturday.


The Brumbies’ players were shattered by the death earlier in the week of their forward teammate Shawn Mackay in a Durban hospital after he was struck by a vehicle during the team’s tour of South Africa.


Mackay’s memory was honoured before the kickoff by a prolonged ovation from the crowd and the Brumbies’ players wore black arm bands as a tribute.


Mackay died Monday from complications arising from injuries he suffered two weeks ago when hit by an armed response vehicle on his way back from a night out, after the Brumbies lost to the Sharks in Durban.


Saturday’s win over the Stormers was an important victory for the Canberra team, keeping them in touch with the top four teams on the Super 14 log.


The match was played in heavy rain and points were at a premium in the slippery conditions.


Fullback Mark Gerrard kicked the Brumbies to a 9-0 lead at halftime with three penalties.


But the Stormers hit back with an outstanding individual try by skipper and inside centre Jean de Villers three minutes after the resumption.


De Villiers fielded the ball just inside his own half and beat five defenders in a weaving run to the try line, dummying past Gerrard to score a converted try and put his team just two points behind.


Gerrard edged the Brumbies five points clear with his fourth penalty six minutes later.


Replacement scrum-half Patrick Phibbs scored the decisive try in the 60th minute to give the Brumbies a 10-point buffer.


Flyhalf Peter Grant ensured the Stormers left with a losing bonus point with a 67th-minute penalty.


The Stormers have yet to win in three matches on their Australasian tour, but have gained three bonus points after losing to the Crusaders (11-7), Waratahs (12-6) and the Brumbies by seven.


“I’m very proud of the boys, they showed a lot of character again,” Brumbies’ coach Andy Friend said.


“It’s been a difficult week, but they were always going to turn up and play tonight.”


He said the side now had some momentum which would be crucial if they were to make next month’s playoffs.


“Winning becomes a habit, as does losing, so if you can keep those wins coming that’s a good thing and hopefully it will happen again next week.”


The Brumbies host the Bulls next Friday, while the Stormers cross the Tasman for a match against the Hurricanes in Wellington Saturday.


Sapa-AFP Super14.com

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