The Brumbies have booked a semi-final date with Jaguares in Argentina next weekend after a 38-13 win over the Sharks in Canberra.
The damage was done early against the Sharks with three tries in the first half including a double to Pete Samu and a 24-6 lead at the break before the Sharks made a bit of a comeback before the Brumbies added two late tries to make the final margin 25 points.
The Brumbies defence was instrumental in the win as they finished up with only 32% possession and 22% territory
The Brumbies got off to a brilliant start with a try to Pete Samu within the first minute to catch the Sharks off guard, probably still trying to warm up in the 1 degree conditions. Rory Arnold supplied the inside ball to Samu and he set sail for the line from 35 metres out to score.
The Sharks showed they were prepared to be patient with the ball with a long sequence of play that eventually ended with Curwin Bosch stepping up from halfway with penalty goal to get them on the board.
But the Brumbies continued their hot start with their second try in the opening 15 minutes as Tom Banks sliced through the defensive line and found Arnold who put Speight away in the corner as Arnold claimed his second try assist and Lealiifano made it 14-6 with the conversion from the sideline.
Bosch and Lealiifano traded penalty goals – only their fourth of the season – but it was the Brumbies with all the momentum and it was Samu with his second try, this time off the back of a rolling maul for a 24-6 lead, which was the first the Sharks had conceded.
The Sharks had their chances to reduce the margin but the Brumbies defence, including their maul defence, and poor handling from the visitors saw the Brumbies head to the break with a 24-6 lead despite only 27% territory.
The Sharks had a golden opportunity to get something going at the start of the second half after an error from the Brumbies off the restart but came up empty handed after a forward pass on attack in the 22.
Robert du Preez was struggling to get his backline going but it was when Bosch stepped in at first receiver that they looked more threatening and trying to get the centre pairing of Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am involved.
Eventually they did get over the line in the 58th minute through Esterhuizen after a series of penalties going their way in the Brumbies 22 and made it 24-13.
That gave the Sharks some confidence and they enjoyed the share of possession over the next few minutes and would have had the Brumbies a little nervous as they started to find gaps but couldn’t execute.
But it would be the Brumbies who would score next after weathering the Sharknado to seal the game as Joe Powell snuck through a gap to score and make it 31-13 as the Brumbies cleared their bench.
The Brumbies weren’t content with that margin and added a last minute try to Matt Lucas to run out 38-13 winners and will pack their bag for Buenos Aires before jumping on the bus on Sunday morning for a big travel day.
The Game Changer
No real moment stood out as the Brumbies had an 18 point lead at the break and despite a late surge from the Sharks, they added two late tries to run out 25 point winners.
The G&GR MOTM
Rory Arnold – It might have been Pete Samu but he went off at half time with a hamstring twinge but Arnold had his hands in the first two tries and was monstering the Sharks maul with great effect.
Up against the a big Sharks pack the Brumbies held their own and their front row which has worked so well in 2019 continued their form. The backs had a quieter game in a defensive effort however Tom Banks was solid at the back and help setup Speight’s try.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Samu 2, Speight, Powell, Lucas
Conversions: Lealiifano 5
Penalties: Bosch 2