Brumbies bitten by Sharks
South African side claim first win in Canberra since 1998
Last Updated: 31/03/12 1:11pm
Willem Alberts: Congratulated Riaan Viljoen after the full-back scored two tries
The Brumbies' unbeaten home record in 2012 was brought to an end as the Sharks claimed a 29-26 victory at Canberra Stadium.
The Durban side had not beaten the Brumbies in Canberra for 14 years but punished mistakes from the hosts by scoring two tries in each half and then holding on for victory.
Riaan Viljoen touched down twice, while Willem Alberts and Lwazi Mvovo also scored tries and Frederic Michalak kicked nine points in the bonus-point success.
Christian Lealiifano kicked 16 points for the Brumbies, whose two tries came from Jesse Mogg and Nic White.
There were mistakes aplenty from both teams in the opening 10 minutes as dropped possession and wayward kicking led to a scrappy start with turnover ball prevalent.
Michalak kicked a penalty from just outside the 22 to put the Sharks in front, but a frenetic response from the Brumbies led them to within inches of the try-line, with Lealiifano knocking over a subsequent penalty.
The Sharks were quickly back in front, however, with scrum-half Charl McLeod taking a quick tap penalty which led to full-back Viljoen crashing over virtually unopposed in the corner.
A second penalty from Lealiifano cut the gap to two points before a fantastic try in the 28th minute had the home support on their feet.
Taking a risk inside his own 22, Lealiifano sensed an overlap and spread the ball wide to full-back Mogg, who raced clear and chipped the ball over the covering defence and re-gathered to canter round behind the posts. The easy conversion made it 13-8 to the Brumbies.
But another counter six minutes from the interval ended with a vastly different result when a lofted pass wide was easily intercepted by Odwa Ndungane and the winger found the supporting Viljoen for his second try.
Michalak's successful conversion had the Sharks in front again at 15-13, but it was the Brumbies who led at the break as Lealiifano kicked his third penalty to edge the home team into a one-point lead.
The Sharks'started the second half well, moving the ball through several pairs of hands before a thrusting run by centre Tim Whitehead almost resulted in a try.
The ball was patted away by the Brumbies and an unfortunate bounce meant the Lealiifano could not collect, leaving flanker Alberts to snaffle the loose ball to cross by the base of the post. Michalak added the extras.
A fourth penalty from Lealiifano reduced the arrears again, but the Sharks then claimed the bonus point with a fourth try.
Another turnover deep inside Sharks territory saw lock Steven Sykes break down the left touchline and pass infield, where Mvovo outpaced the Brumbies defence to streak away into the corner, with Michalak converting once again.
The Brumbies piled on the pressure as they attempted to find a way back but, despite conceding a stoppage-time try to replacement White, the Sharks held on for the win.