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Force stun Brumbies; Sharks bite Chief

CAMERON Shepherd scored a hat-trick of tries to help the Western Force pull off a surprise 25-16 win over the ACT Brumbies in Canberra yesterday.

The Australian test fullback crossed once in the first half then twice more in the second as the Stormers took the spoils in the first Australian derby of this season's Super 14.

"I always thought we could win, it was a fantastic result," Force captain Nathan Sharpe said. "It was just the commitment, our defense was fantastic, it's a tremendous effort from the boys."

The Brumbies led 9-8 at halftime after fullback Mark Gerrard booted three penalties but the Force took control early in the second half.

Shepherd scored his second then No. 8 Richard Brown crossed to give the Force a 20-9 lead.

The Brumbies, who had won their two previous matches this season, cut the margin to five points when they were awarded a penalty try for repeated infringements at the scrum but Shepherd sealed his team's win with a late touchdown.

In Hamilton, New Zealand, South Africa's Sharks were twice saved by the video referee in their 22-15 win over the Waikato Chiefs yesterday.

The Sharks defended superbly in the last 10 minutes against a wave of Chiefs attacks but needed a slice of luck to remain unbeaten after three rounds. Twice the Chiefs crossed the Sharks' line but on both occasions the television referee gave the benefit of the doubt to the defending team because replays were inconclusive.


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