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Waratahs suffer first loss against Brumbies

THE ACT Brumbies scored two second-half tries yesterday for a 21-11 win over New South Wales, handing the Waratahs their first Super 14 loss of the season.

Ben Alexander and Adam Ashley-Cooper scored the second-half five-pointers for the Brumbies, who improved to 3-1 after a bye last week. The Waratahs are 4-1 and tied for first place with South Africa's Bulls.

The Brumbies led 6-3 at halftime on fullback Mark Gerrard's penalties in the 10th and 33rd minutes. Waratahs five-eighth Kurtley Beale, after three previous misses, kicked a penalty on the stroke of halftime to narrow the deficit to three points.

The win came at a price, however, with ACT captain Stephen Hoiles limping off with a potentially serious knee injury. Lock Mark Chisholm was knocked out trying to bring down Waratahs counterpart Will Caldwell, while fellow Wallabies forward George Smith suffered a facial injury.

The Waratahs did not emerge unscathed with replacement hooker Adam Freier sustaining a possible broken collarbone. Fullback Sam Norton-Knight also spent time on the sidelines after a hard hit to his head.

Brumbies coach Andy Friend said he was pleased with his team's win.

"I thought they showed a lot of character, which was good, and we've just got to make sure we keep that happening every time we play," Friend said.

In Wellington, the Auckland Blues trounced South Africa's Cheetahs 46-12 in a lop-sided match. The Blues ran in six tries to two to completely overwhelm a Cheetahs side that was reduced to playing uncontested scrums for the last 30 minutes after losing their starting front row.

Auckland had already made a flying start to the match when wing Anthony Tuitavake and blindside flanker Chris Lowrey scored tries inside the first 15 minutes.

The Cheetahs, yet to win a match this season, opened their account when center Corne Uys scored an opportunistic try just before halftime but failed to contain the Blues after the re-start.


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