A hat–trick from Tevita Kuridrani saw the Brumbies come away with a bonus point 22-10 win over the Bulls and cement their spot on top of the Australian conference with three rounds remaining.
A strong defensive effort in the second half held the Bulls to nil despite being under pressure with the visitors enjoying 70% of the ball at one stage in the half with the work at the breakdown from the trio of Pete Samu, Tom Cusack and the unheralded Jahrome Brown instrumental in the win.
The win makes it six in a row at home in 2019 and extends their streak over the Bulls at home to 12 years since their last defeat way back in 2007.
The game didn’t start too well for the Brumbies as they knocked on and conceded a penalty goal to Manie Libbok after just three minutes but would only have to wait two minutes before they got onto the board with a try to Tevita Kuridrani.
But after that it was all the Bulls as they virtually set up camp inside the Brumbies 22, helped by a series of penalties going their way that eventually referee Jaco Peyper got sick of and sent Tom Cusack to the bin for collapsing the maul.
With a player down in the scrum, the Bulls took full advantage and the ball fell to Hanro Liebenberg who scored, although it could have done with a look at by the TMO.
The much publicised rolling maul from the Brumbies had a few stutters against a strong Bulls defence and came up short three times and when they tried something else, Rory Arnold was penalised for holding onto the ball right near the tryline.
Just before the break, the Brumbies had another attempt at the rolling maul and mixed it up and Kuridrani ran a great line to bag his second of the game, and Lealiifano’s conversion gave them a 12-10 lead at half time.
The Bulls started the second half well and looked strong but a big turnover from Jahrome Brown in the 22 was kicked downfield by Joe Powell and with no one near him, Manie Libbok knocked on whilst having a look at the oncoming defence.
From the scrum, the Brumbies ran a great first phase move that involved Kuridrani who found Speight on the inside and he set sail for the line and offloaded to Irae Simone for the try to extend the margin to seven points.
There was an important moment around 53 minutes with the Bulls with an attacking scrum after Joe Powell had to force the ball ahead of the fast Rosko Specman but the Brumbies scrum held tight and won a relieving penalty.
Five minutes later, Kuridrani had his hat trick after the pressure was too much for the Bulls out wide as the Brumbies queued up on the left wing to make it 22-10.
The Bulls were their own worst enemies with forward passes in key attacking areas or loose passes on the ground not helping them get any momentum despite 70% of the ball in the second half.
With ten minutes to go. Lealiifano had a chance to put the game to bed but continued his kicking woes to leave it at a 12-point margin at 22-10.
Henry Speight went close to bagging a deserved try but the bounce of the ball evaded him after a Kuridrani grubber kick (is there anything he can’t do).
There was a late flurry of action from the Bulls but they couldn’t add to their score as the Brumbies held on for the bonus point win, 22-10.
The Brumbies are off to Tokyo next week to take on the Sunwolves.
The Game Changer
The Bulls attacking scrum around the 53 minute mark in the Brumbies 22 was penalised in the Brumbies favour and five minutes, Kuridrani had his third try.
The G&GR MOTM
Tevita Kuridrani. Scored a hat trick and is showing the benefits of his first preseason in quite some time.
The Brumbies starting front row had a physical game, as it always is against South African opposition. Pete Samu had a busy game in a physical game at the breakdown. Tom Banks didn’t get much a of a chance to stretch out but did set up Kuridrani’s first try.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Kuridrani 3, Simone
15 mins – Cusack (Brumbies) – Yellow