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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Brumbies claim Super 12 title
SUPER 12 FINAL
Brumbies 47
Tries: Roff (2), Gerrard (3), Paul, Giteau
Cons: Roff (6)
Crusaders 38
Tries: McCaw, Mauger, Thorne, King, Laulala , Carter
Cons: Carter (4)
Five first-half tries in 19 minutes helped the ACT Brumbies secure the Super 12 title, as they defeated Canterbury Crusaders 47-38 in Canberra.

Wing Mark Gerrard grabbed a hat-trick and Joe Roff (2), Jeremy Paul and Matt Giteau also crossed for ACT.

Crusaders fought back well with Richie McCaw, Aaron Mauger, Brad Thorne, Chris King, Casey Laulala and Daniel Carter all scoring.

But the Brumbies held on to secure their second Super 12 win.

Brumbies got off to a dream start, grabbing 33 unanswered points in 19 minutes to end the match as a contest almost before it had begun.

The first came after just one minute when Crusaders full-back Ben Blair missed the ball completely while attempting to fly-hack it into touch, allowing Roff to dive over.

All credit to the Crusaders, they're a fantastic team and we knew they'd fight back
Owen Finegan
Brumbies captain
Two minutes later, a loose pass from Blair led to the Brumbies' second when Gregan fed a blind-side pass to Gerrard who flew down the left wing.

The home crowd could hardly believe their eyes as the Crusaders - who have won the Super 12 four times - continued to capitulate.

With lock Radike Samo running riot in the loose, the Brumbies fans were then made to wait just seven minutes for the third.

A mighty Samo tackle on McCaw won the ball for the Brumbies as Gregan again found a flying Gerrard, who fed inside for hooker Paul to further increase the lead.

Wing Mark Gerrard
Wing Mark Gerrard should have played himself into the Test team
With Brumbies fans in raptures, the next eight minutes brought another two tries as first Gerrard and then Giteau compounded the visitors' misery.

At 33-0 down, the game looked cut and dried, but the decision to replace Cameron McIntyre with experienced number 10 Andrew Mehretens prompted a much-needed Crusaders fightback.

With Mehrtens in charge behind, McCaw led from the front, diving over for his side's first try and then breaking through the Brumbies' midfield to allow Mauger to bring his side back into the game.

At 33-14 down there was still a glimpse of hope for the Kiwis, but only until another Blair error resulted in Gerrard touching down for his hat-trick, after a wonderful Larkham up-and-under.

We never stopped believing we could get back into it
Reuben Thorne
Crusaders captain
Again Canterbury fought back with former rugby league hero Thorne powering over from five metres.

The score left the visitors needing three converted tries in 23 minutes and when King was awarded the Crusaders' fourth it looked as though a remarkable comeback could be on the cards.

But Roff finished as he started, breaking Christian Cullen's Super 12 record with his 57th try to seal the win, despite late scores from Laulala and Carter.


ACT Brumbies: Young, Roff, Rathbone, Wilson, Giteau, Gerrard, Larkham, Gregan, Paul, Henderson, Chisholm, Samo, Finegan, Smith, Fava.

Replacements: Palavi, Shepherdson, Giffin, Tawake, Henjak, Bartholomeusz, Beckett, Drew.

Canterbury Crusaders: Blair, Vunibaka, A. Mauger, Carter, Ralph, McIntyre, Marshall, Broomhall, McCaw, Thorne, Jack, Thorn, Somerville, Kopelani, Hewett.

Replacements: C. Flynn, King, Filipo, Leo'o, Nutbrown, Mehrtens, Laulala.

Referee: Andre Watson (South Africa)




SEE ALSO
Mortlock out of Super 12 final
16 May 04 |  Rugby Union
ACT reach Super 12 final
15 May 04 |  Rugby Union
Brumbies on top
08 May 04 |  Rugby Union


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