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Live rugby: Brumbies v Highlanders

Thanks for joining us for our live blog. That was a terrific example of what rugby could - and should - be. Both teams threw the ball about in an entertaining affair. The Brumbies will take a lot of confidence out of inflicting the first loss upon the Highlanders this season. They are now surely among the best two Australian franchises in 2012, along with the Reds. Special mention to No.7 Michael Hooper, or was it David Pocock out there? That's how good Hooper was, he was in everything. Skipper Ben Mowen led by example, while in the backs, Christian Lealiifano, Joseph Tomane and Henry Speight also produced moments of of real class. Lealiifano guided ACT around the park well and will leave coach Jake White with a big headache when No.10 Matt Toomua returns from injury. The Highlanders deservedly take away a bonus point at least. Terrible luck for Colin Slade, who left the field early in the second half with a potentially serious lower leg or ankle injury.

Full-time: And the Brumbies turn it over! Great stuff. Massive effort from the Brumbies. Brumbies 33 - Highlanders 26

80th min: Highlanders deep on the attack. It's squeaky bum time!

79th min: Two to go. Hold on Brumbies! My multi is depending on this one!

73rd min: Michael Hooper looks like he's gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. His face has blown up like a balloon but the inspirational No.7 is soldiering on.

72nd min: Mogg's penalty attempt from 51m out falls short again. Have a few more Weet Bix next week, Moggy!

69th min: The 'Brumbies' chant has gone up from the 12,269 fans at Canberra Stadium as a rolling maul from ACT puts Otago under the pump.

63rd min: Try time for the Brumbies! The play looked to have broken down after Ian Prior was too slow to get rid of the pill. But the Highlanders turned it straight back over and ACT flanker Michael Hooper gets his reward for a tireless performance, scooping up the loose ball to score. Lealiifano converts. Brumbies 33 - Highlanders 26. The Brumbies are one try away from securing a bonus point now.

61st min: The Highlanders have thrown 32 forward passes tonight. The referee just blew one up for the first time.

58th min: Scott Fardy is penalised for coming in from the side. Chris Noakes, who replaced the injured Slade, bangs it over from right in front to lock it up again. Brumbies 26 - Highlanders 26.

55th min: The Brumbies receive a penalty after spilling the pill following a long advantage. Lealiifano, who has been superb for the Brumbies tonight, converts from the left-hand side. Brumbies 26 - Highlanders 23.

53rd min: Slade is in all sorts of trouble here for the Highlanders. The medics are calling for the stretcher for the man who has played just seven Super Rugby games in two seasons due to injuries. It looks like a nasty problem to his left ankle or lower left leg, which was fallen on awkwardly by Pat McCabe in the tackle. That's his night done but hopefully it's not as serious as it appears.

49th min: Shaun Treeby embarrasses the Brumbies defence. The Brumbies thought they had him wrapped up but they let him go and he made them pay to score under the posts. Slade converts and we're all tied up. Brumbies 23 - Highlanders 23.

47th min: Never fear, folks. Normal service has resumed at Canberra Stadium as the Brumbies kick a penalty goal straight away to restore the seven-point buffer. Nice strike by Lealiifano from 40m out. Brumbies 23 - Highlanders 16.

44th min: Slade reduces the deficit to four points after the Brumbies are penalised for a lineout infringement. Brumbies 20 - Highlanders 16.

Both sides have shown a willingness to throw the ball about in the opening 40. Hopefully they keep it up in the second half because this has been one of the most watchable Super Rugby matches of the season so far.

Half-time: Lealiifano slots his second penalty on the half-time siren from 35m out, right in front. Brumbies 20 - Highlanders 13.

39th min: Jesse Mogg has an audacious penalty goal attempt from the halfway line fall just short.

36th min: Try time for the Highlanders! Aaron Smith goes over out wide after Hosea Gear catches the Brumbies' inside defence napping for the initial break. Slade converts. Brumbies 17 - Highlanders 13.

31st min: Jesse Mogg has a brain explosion for the Brumbies. The fullback looked to keep the ball in play as it dribbled towards touch but only succeeded in taking the ball out himself when he could have just let it run out for a lineout. The Brumbies win the lineout anyway, so no harm done.

30th min: Tomane had a slim chance for his hat-trick on the left wing there but Ben Mowen's over-the-head pass was too difficult to handle.

27th min: Go away ref! The Brumbies looked like the Harlem Globetrotters there before the ref pulled out a Highlanders penalty under rule 234,567, subsection (a), paragraph 456 in volume 45 of the rule book.

The last time it took both teams 24 minutes to kick a penalty goal in a Super Rugby match, Noah was playing fullback for Jerusalem.

24th min: The Highlanders peg back the deficit through a Colin Slade penalty goal. Brumbies 17 - Highlanders 6.

21st min: But the touchie is on the ball. He gives the ref the hot tip that Moore was taken out early and Lealiifano bangs over the first penalty of the night. Brumbies 17 - Highlanders 3.

20th min: The crowd is blowing up after Lealiifano made a great bust up field before hooker Steve Moore looked to have been tackled without the ball. The Brumbies are on fire at the moment.

16th min: Try time again for the Brumbies! Tomane bags his second after centre Andrew Smith makes a bust up field before linking with Tomane, who showed good footwork to step Tamati Ellison and cross again. That was brilliant running rugby. Lealiifano converts and it's Brumbies 14 - Highlanders 3.

12th min: And the Highlanders even take a quick tap within kicking range but the play comes unstuck close to the Brumbies' tryline due to accidental offside. Good to see them choose to attack, though.

11th min: We've had 11 minutes and no penalty goals yet. It's a breath of fresh air, let me tell you.

9th min: Colin Slade bangs over a neat drop goal for the Highlanders. They would have had a close-range penalty anyway with the referee playing advantage. Brumbies 7 - Highlanders 3.

4th min: Intercept! My penalty prediction has been cut to pieces! With the Highlanders on the attack, Joseph Tomane intercepts the ball to sprint 90m and give the Brumbies a dream start. That's the Gold Coast Titans recruit's first Super Rugby try. And the big man offers a little prayer for the big guy upstairs to celebrate. Christian Lealiifano adds the extras. Brumbies 7 - Highlanders 0.

2nd min: Solid start by the Brumbies. They threw the ball about nicely before a knock-on ends the play on the Highlanders' 22.

Both teams are out on the field. I'm exclusively tipping the first scoring play will be a penalty goal. It's a bold call, but that's the kind of guy I am.

Preamble: The Brumbies come off the back of a heart-breaking loss last week against the Chiefs. In a game they were expected to lose easily, they were toppled by a last-minute try. This week gets no easier for the young Brumbies as they take on one of the competition favourites - a Highlanders outfit which sits perched at the top of the rugby ladder. From 7.40pm, tune in to catch all the action as it happens.

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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
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SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 5
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 7
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Round 8
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Round 9
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Round 10
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 12
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 14
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 19
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Round 20
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