Brumbies blank Force for top spot
MATCH REPORT: The Brumbies have returned to the top of the Super Rugby AU ladder with a 24-0 bonus-point win over the Western Force in Sydney.
The Brumbies never looked back after opening with two long-range tries in the opening five minutes as they completed a clean sweep of victories over their four Australian rivals in 2020.
*As it happened: Western Force v Brumbies
Unbeaten in the new domestic competition, the Brumbies leapfrogged Queensland on the ladder after the Reds had a round-four bye.
As they were in gallant defeats to the Reds and NSW Waratahs, the Force were plucky in the Leichhardt Oval wet on Saturday night.
But the Brumbies were simply too slick in the backs and too powerful in the forwards, with dynamic No.8 Pete Samu, scrumhalf Joe Powell and inside centre Irae Simone the stand-outs.
The visitors made a lightning start, with wing Tom Wright finishing off a dazzling 75-metre try after just 80 seconds.
The Brumbies’ second five-pointer, an 88-metre effort completed by Simone, was even better.
Up 12-0 after six minutes, it looked like being a one-sided contest.
But, despite being kept scoreless for the first time in Super Rugby since 2007, the spirited Force kept the Brumbies at bay until flanker Will Miller crossed out wide three minutes after halftime to all but seal victory.
It would not be a Brumbies game without a driving maul try from the Brumbies side so, fittingly, replacement hooker Connal McInerney bagged one in the 66th minute.
Australia’s Super Rugby conference winners the past two years, the Brumbies have not lost a derby since March last year and now face the Reds back in Canberra next Saturday.
Man of the match: Pete Samu and Irae Simone were some of the standout performers during the encounter. However our nod goes to Brumbies wing Tom Wright, whose stats boast with 131 metres, 13 carries and six defenders beaten.
For Western Force: None
Tries: Wright, Simone, Miller, McInerney
Cons: Kuenzle 2
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Tevin Ferris, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush (Captain), 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Angus Wagner.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tom Sheminant, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Ollie Callan, 21 Jacob Abel, 22 Richard Kahui, 23 Kyle Godwin.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 James Slipper, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Issak Fines, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Amy Perrett & Angus Gardner
TMO: George Ayoub