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Live: Brumbies v Force

Date

Daniel Briggs

Full-time: And that's all from nib Stadium. Thanks for joining us for our live blog. You have to give credit to the Force for staging a spirited second-half comeback but you sense the Brumbies probably took the foot of the gas after wrapping up a bonus point by half-time. They did enough to hold on for the win and collect a priceless five points to jump five points clear of the Reds at the top of the Australian conference. Don't miss the wrap-up of tonight's clash from our man on the ground, Chris 'Blocka' Dutton, in tomorrow's Fairfax publications. Brumbies 28 - Force 17.

79th min: That will be the ball game as another Force play comes unstuck. Meanwhile, Brumbies winger Cam Crawford is on for his Super Rugby debut.

78th min: They've been packing down this scrum for two hours. Riveting entertainment for the masses.

76th min: But Cummins can't make it a hat-trick after he spills a difficult pass from Sharpe to release the pressure valve.

75th min: Brumbies centre Andrew Smith is penalised for not rolling away and the Force is on the attack.

73rd min: PENALTY GOAL! But the "squeaky bum time" reference might have to wait for another day as the Brumbies get a close-range penalty and Holmes converts. Brumbies 28 - Force 17.

I'm almost wanting the Force to score next, just so I can throw a Sir Alex Ferguson "squeaky bum time" reference in here.

68th min: CATTLEDOG! Err...I mean TRY! Big Force No.4 Toby Lynn shows good strength to barge over out wide after some sustained pressure from the hosts. And it's game on big time here as the hosts look to lift in the final 10 minutes for Sharpe. There was a bit of push and shove after the try - there's some feeling creeping into this contest. Brett Sheehan nails the conversion and it's Brumbies 25 - Force 17.

64th min: Sloppy play is costing the Force here. They are having good opportunities but silly errors, like a poor lineout throw there, are hindering their comeback.

61st min: The game is opening up nicely here, with both teams throwing the ball around.

55th min: PENALTY GOAL! That's more like it as the Brumbies receive a soft penalty for a Pocock indiscretion at the breakdown. Holmes converts. Brumbies 25 - Force 10.

Stat attack: This could be the only rugby match in the history of the universe where there has been NO penalty goals after 50 minutes.

51st min: TRY! Hold the phone! Cummins crosses again in the right corner in a move which was started by Force fullback Alfi Mafi. The No.15 got involved again soon after in a sweeping backline movement to the right before Cummins showed great speed to score. Seymour hooks the conversion attempt again - but we have a game on our hands again! Brumbies 22 - Force 10.

42nd min: TRY! Solid start by the Force with successive penalties. They neglect the shot at three points and are deep on the attack. And they get their reward as Nick Cummins crashes over in the right-hand corner. He had too much strength for Mogg as he ran straight over the top of him. Ben Seymour's conversion attempt from the touchline hooks left. Brumbies 22 - Force 5.

Second half: We're under way in the final 40 minutes at nib Stadium.

Brumbies media manager Elliot Woods has also had a great day in Perth after firing a solid 71 in his pre-game round of golf. Just a pity it was for nine holes, including an 11 on one hole and 13 on another.

That was a massive statement of intent from the Brumbies. With the Reds picking up five points last night, the ACT could not afford to slip up and Jake White will be delighted with his side's effort in the first 40 minutes. It was close to a perfect half of rugby. Mistake-free, fast-paced, dominating possession and field position. And a bonus point for four tries. They have showed no rustiness after the three-week mid-season Super Rugby break.

Half-time: The Force get a close-range penalty just before the break but really had no option but to go for the try. Strong defence from Jesse Mogg ends a brief raid from the Force before he runs the ball into touch to end the half. Brumbies 22 - Force 0.

38th min: TRY! That. Was. Embarrassing. Holmes just slices through some woeful Force defence close to the line and that's a bonus point for the Brumbies before half-time. It was Pocock who fell off the one-on-one tackle before delivering a spray to a teammate for selling him short and leaving too big of a gap in the line. Great speed and footwork from Holmes to take advantage, though. Holmes misses an easy conversion attempt. Brumbies 22 - Force 0.

37th min: Speight shows fancy footwork and great strength to nearly score in the right corner but is just barged into touch. The Force are falling off tackles at will and the Brumbies are deep on the attack again.

35th min: You have to feel for the Force. They tried to pass the ball around like the Harlem Globetrotters there but ended up looking more like the Charlotte Bobcats. And then conceded a penalty at the end to boot.

32nd min: Comedy gold as Benny A is pinged for going on a great Australian crawl after being tackled. The referee's penalty symbol looked like the hokey pokey. What's that all about?

29th min: TRY! That was all set up by the rangy 'ranga' Kimlin, who busted the line again. A couple of plays later, Holmes atones for his penalty miss by charging quickly at the line before firing a pinpoint cutout pass from left-to-right to allow Speight to cross in the right corner. Holmes's conversion attempt again just hooks left. But a bonus point is now only one try away for the visitors. Brumbies 17 - Force 0.

27th min: A big scrum against the feed hands the Brumbies a penalty. Holmes lines it up from about 38m out and 10m to the right of the uprights. But he hooks it left and it's still Brumbies 12 - Force 0.

26th min: A sneaky move from Nic White from the scrumbase nearly results in a try to Peter Kimlin who charged through a gap and found himself in acres of space. But the play was pulled back for a forward pass. I didn't even think they existed in rugby given 97.52 per cent of them are normally let go!

25th min: The Brumbies go close to scoring after several repeat phases before the Force get a relieving penalty for the ACT holding on. The home side is hanging on grimly here.

23rd min: To sum up the Force's night so far, Moore over shoots his lineout throw but in his desperation to dive on the loose pill, Pocock spills the ball and the Brumbies will go on the attack again.

22nd min: Enterprising play from ACT on the left wing by the Brumbies as Scott Fardy sends Mogg away before he is just tackled into touch by Nick Cummins.

20th min: Brumbies back-rower Sam Carter must have given a sneaky call there as a Force pass is gifted straight to him. To rub salt into the Force's wounds, the Brumbies receive another penalty and will go on the attack again from 35m out.

18th min: Force No.8 Matthew Hodgson has left the field with ice on his ankle. Doesn't look good for the hosts, who finally had a chance in the Brumbies' half after a penalty before hooker Nathan Charles was pinged for not throwing the lineout straight.

15th min: The Brumbies are doing things beautifully here. Mistake-free, simple rugby and keeping the ball down the Force's end. The Reds issued the challenge last night and they are answering it nicely so far.

14th min: Wallabies teammates David Pocock and Michael Hooper get re-acquainted as a bit of push and shove between the No.7s turns into a friendly cuddle. How awkward.

11th min: TRY! Benny A! That will see Ben Alexander avoid the end-of-year nudie run as the big man barges over from close range. The Brumbies have done a great job of silencing the home crowd and taking them out of play. Holmes converts from the left side. Brumbies 12 - Force 0.

9th min: Coleman nearly scores again before several one-out Brumbies plays result in Steve Moore being held up. ACT has a close-range scrum.

5th min: Twinkle toes Speight somehow keeps a bomb in play after catching it just inside the touch line and dropping the ball back in play before falling over the white stripe. The Brumbies get a penalty and are deep on the attack but Speight turns from hero to villain after dropping a tough pass.

3rd min: TRY! The Brumbies get on the board first as Henry Speight gives it to Zack Holmes, who fires a cut-out pass for Jesse Mogg. Mogg still had work to do but slipped by two defenders to cross in the left corner. Holmes misses the conversion. Brumbies 5 - Force 0.

2nd min: The Brumbies go oh so close as Robbie Coleman cuts through a gap but slips and trips to fall just short of the line.

Kick-off: We're under way at nib and it's a great start for the Brumbies as they regain their kick-off and go on the attack.

Pre-game: Sharpe gets a standing ovation from a massive crowd at nib Stadium, as he runs through a tribute banner with his two sons. Both teams are out on the field and as per program. Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen gets his troops into a huddle to deliver some final words. This is a huge danger game for the ACT.

Preamble: The Reds' big win over the Rebels last night has added another dimension to this crucial game. With the Western Force set to farewell Nathan Sharpe, emotions will be running high at nib Stadium. And with Queensland's win last night in Melbourne drawing it level on 49 competition points with the Brumbies on top of the Australian conference, Jake White's men can't afford any slip-ups if they hope to make their first finals appearance since 2004. Join me at 7.30pm AEST for all the live action.

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