THE Brumbies kept alive their quest for a finals berth with a 20-point bonus-point win over the new darlings of the competition, the Queensland Reds, at Canberra Stadium last night.The most pressing question after their glittering performance, however, was: where has this form been all season?The Brumbies secured their fourth try in the 73rd minute when prop Ben Alexander crashed over for his second five-pointer.The win kept the Brumbies in sixth position on the Super 14 ladder – two points behind the Crusaders and Reds in third and fourth – with matches against the Highlanders at home and the Crusaders away to close out the regular season. Coach Andy Friend believes his side is destined to qualify for the play-offs. ”One-hundred per cent,” Friend said. ”I firmly believe we can do it. We need to play like that again the next two weeks, play with that belief and energy for each other. I’m now not standing here saying, ‘We’re getting close’. I saw it click tonight.”Captain Stephen Hoiles refused to get carried away with the performance. ”It just means we’re alive, that we live to fight another week. It doesn’t make the run home any easier or any harder though,” he said.”But against the form side of the competition tonight, to score four tries was very pleasing.”As has been the case for most of the season, the Brumbies controlled possession for most of the contest, which was played in front of a crowd of 18,025. However, last night they were able to turn that early dominance into points through a Mark Chisholm try.The Brumbies had a sense of urgency at the breakdown and the Reds struggled to handle the pressure. In their defence, though, the Reds lost both starting second-rowers, Adam Byrnes (knee) and Rob Simmons (jaw), in the first quarter of the match. The Brumbies capitalised, stealing lineouts at will and ruling at scrum time.The Reds’ front row also desperately missed the scrummaging power of injured prop Laurie Weeks.The Brumbies’ ascendancy in the forwards set the platform for two first-half tries and a 14-6 lead into the break.Josh Valentine’s 56th-minute try gave the Brumbies 24 minutes to score the all-important fourth try – a mission they accomplished.The Brumbies will be boosted for their must-win match against the Highlanders by an emotional farewell planned for club legends Stirling Mortlock and George Smith at Canberra Stadium.Meanwhile, the Hurricanes defeated the Chiefs 33-27 in Wellington last night.BRUMBIES 32 (Ben Alexander 2, Mark Chisholm, Josh Valentine tries Matt Giteau 3 cons 2 pens) bt QUEENSLAND REDS 12 (Quade Cooper 4 pens) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Chris Pollock (NZL).
Nanjing Night Net