The Brumbies have moved to the top of the Australian Conference following a 33-0 bonus point win over the Sunwolves in Canberra this afternoon.
A double to Henry Speight and tries to Joe Powell, Tom Banks and Pete Samu sealed the win but even more pleasing to coach Dan McKellar would have been the manner in which they were scored following criticism of their win over the Blues last week and equally keeping an opponent to nil for the first time since 2015.
The Sunwolves certainly had their chances in the game but just couldn’t execute with the ball as tries went begging from poor handling or couldn’t crack the dogged Brumbies defence, with one sequence saw them come up with nothing after 20 phases on the Brumbies line.
In the afternoon sunshine, the Sunwolves looked to have scored after just two minutes to winger Gerhard van den Heever but a look from the TMO on the advice of Assistant referee Angus Gardner saw that his foot brushed the line under pressure from Joe Powell. Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus.
Both sides had obvious game plans to kick the ball with the Sunwolves prepared to chip kick over the rushing Brumbies defence while Joe Powell was resorting to box kicks, with mixed results.
It took until the 13th minute for the scorer to be troubled as the Brumbies launched a counter attack down their right wing as Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani combined before Speight scored the opening try.
The home fans only had to wait two minutes for the second try and again it was their right side attack which all started from Tom Banks earning a turnover with the Sunwolves looking to score before Kuridrani again found himself in space before offloading to Joe Powell for an easy run to the line and a 14-0 lead.
The Sunwolves were able to do something few teams had this season as they managed to twice disrupt the rolling maul tactic of the Brumbies but with defenders committed, it left space out wide for Speight’s second try.
Around the 30 minute mark the visitors looked to be getting something going on the back of penalties but their attempt at the rolling maul was let down by poor handling, which summed up their overall game and continued the Brumbies record of not conceding from a rolling maul.
The Sunwolves looked to come up with something early in the second half but their attack was too easy for the Brumbies defence to break down.
The Brumbies went further in front after 50 minutes with a brilliant first-phase try started from 40 metres out to Tom Banks that was setup by Speight hitting the gap before putting Banks over in the left corner.
It was a five-minute period not long after that pretty much summed up the Sunwolves game. First, van den Heever was bundled into touch, again, followed by multiple sequences of phases camped on the Brumbies line but came up empty and suffered the sucker punch as Pete Samu rubbed salt into the wounds up the other end for a five-pointer with another Kuridrani try assist to make it 33-0.
The Brumbies emptied the bench with 15 to go but couldn’t add any more points but head into the bye full of confidence after four wins in the last five games.
After the week off the Brumbies play the Bulls in a home fixture followed by three more important conference games against the Sunwolves (a), Waratahs (a) and the Reds at home.
The Game Changer
No real moment stood out but after two tries in as many minutes in the first half was enough for the Brumbies to run away with the win.
The G&GR MOTM
Henry Speight in a photo finish with Pete Samu. Samu scored one try and work around the ruck was impressive but Speight’s two tries and assist for Banks’ try plus 8 runs for 131 metres.
Tevita Kuridrani returned from a minor knee injury and had two try assists and 96 metres from 9 runs. Tom Banks put in his usual shift with a try and some important tackles.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Speight 2, Banks, Powell, Samu
Conversions: Lealiifano 4