It’s a sad end for Moore as High­landers leave Can­berra ‘stoked’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

THE reign­ing cham­pion High­landers held on for a 15-9 vic­tory over the Brumbies on a wet and windy night in Can­berra yes­ter­day to be­come the first team to reach the Su­per Rugby semi-fi­nals.

Tries ei­ther side of half­time from wing Waisake Na­holo and No 8 Liam Squire and five points from the boot of fly­half Lima Sopoaga were enough to send the High­landers into the last four and end Aus­tralian in­ter­est in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Brumbies had three penal­ties from fly­half Chris­tian Leali­ifano but strug­gled for pen­e­tra­tion in at­tack and were un­able to con­vert the few chances they cre­ated into tries, even when camped on the High­landers line for the last seven min­utes.

“It was al­ways go­ing to be tough com­ing over here and we’re stoked we’re into the semi-fi­nals,” said High­landers cap­tain Shane Christie.

“The whole game was a bat­tle ... the last 15 min­utes we just dug in and the boys showed great char­ac­ter.”

Con­di­tions more rem­i­nis­cent of the far south of New Zealand than the Aus­tralian cap­i­tal en­sured the con­test would not be a great spec­ta­cle, and it was a Sopoaga in­ter­cep­tion just be­fore the hour mark that proved de­ci­sive.

As the Brumbies, trail­ing by a point at 10-9, went through a set move from an at­tack­ing li­ne­out, the two-cap All Black stole in to snatch the ball be­fore re­leas­ing cen­tre Matt Fad­des for a run to the line.

Fad­des did not have enough pace to out­run the cover de­fence, but the High­landers re­cy­cled the ball quickly and Sopoaga and full­back Ben Smith got it into the hands of Squire, who crashed over.

Re­place­ment wing Lausii Tali­auli thought he had scored a try that would have brought the home side back to within a point with seven min­utes left on the clock and a con­ver­sion to come.

How­ever, the TV re­view offi- cial was un­able to con­firm a ground­ing.

The Brumbies then laid siege to the vis­i­tors’ line but were un­able to get the ball across it, de­spite a se­ries of at­tack­ing scrums and mul­ti­ple phases.

“Dis­ap­point­ing, we had our chances there at the end but just could not get across the line,” said cap­tain Stephen Moore, who was play­ing his last match for the Brumbies be­fore leav­ing to join the Reds next sea­son.

“It was a tight game in tough con­di­tions but it comes down to those small mo­ments. You’ve got to take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity and we didn’t.” – Reuters

IS IT THE BOOTS? Pa­trick Os­bourne breaks free at GIO Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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